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Electrocommunication in Gymnotus carapo: a study of biological complexity through a real-time interface between computational models and living nervous systems

Grant number: 13/09013-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 18, 2018
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Electrical Engineering - Industrial Electronics, Electronic Systems and Controls
Principal Investigator:Reynaldo Daniel Pinto
Grantee:Rafael Tuma Guariento
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50151-0 - Dynamical phenomena in complex networks: fundamentals and applications, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):17/01589-9 - How electric fish electrocommunicate on distinct behavioral contexts?, BE.EP.DD


The study of the behavior of weakly electric fishes is a unique opportunity in Neuroscience, given that these animal are able to produce electric patterns that can be detected in a non invasive way and participate of at least two complex sensorial activities carried out simultaneosly: - The creation of an "electric image" of its surroundings; - The social communication with its conspecifics. The pattern produces are extremely sensible to many environment variables, like mechanic noise, electric and luminous, the physical-chemistry conditions of the water, the presence of pollution, among others. However, these animals can successfully use these electric senses to locate its prey and swim in muddy and/or dark environments, as well to electrically communicate and solve territorial and sexual disputes in a natural, noisy and multivariable environment. During the execution of this project, we're going to study the electrocommunication in the gender Gymnotus, and how it relates with the animal-environment and animal-animal interaction, while the fishes are freely moving. For that, we're going to implant/adapt an experimental aparatus to measure the spatial-temporal signal produces while the specimens are interacting in real-time with conspecifics and with computer models. We'll use an Information Theoretical and Markovian Process approach to model the "grammar" of the electrocommunication in these animal. We're going to implement techniques of interfacing living nervous systems with computer models to make the interaction between real fishes and computers. We intent also to, in a controlled way, modify these models to determine some basic essential aspects to occur the communication between conspecifics, as well to evaluate the presence of noise similar the to one found in a real environment, natural, non stationary, and where a lot of other animals are interacting simultaneously. All the stages of this project involve the application of analogic instrumentation, as well as dedicated hardware/software and data acquisition, which will be developed by the student in our lab, with the help of the technical staff of the Applied Instrumentation and Computation Physics from IFSC. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
GUARIENTO, Rafael Tuma. Electrocommunication in Gymnotus carapo: definition of linguistic units and its relationship with the dominance role. 2019. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC/BT) São Carlos.

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