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Electrocommunication in Gymnotus carapo: definition of linguistic units and its relationship with the dominance role

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Rafael Tuma Guariento
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC/BT)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Reynaldo Daniel Pinto; Nestor Felipe Caticha Alfonso; José Antonio Alves Gomes; Sergio Tulio Neuenschwander Maciel; Mauro Copelli Lopes da Silva
Advisor: Reynaldo Daniel Pinto

Weakly electric fishs ability to communicate through a self-generated electric field has attracted attention from several areas of knowledge for more than 50 years. Particularly, pulse-type electric fish emit signals that exhibits several similarities with neuronal spike trains, becoming a popular animal model in neuroscience. Due to the increase of computational power and the development of new machine learning tools, it is now possible to investigate dominance interactions between a pair of fish at the level of every single pulse. As far as we know, information is coded and transmitted by modulation of interval between pulses. Thus, communication between electric fishes presents several similarities with the communication between neurons from different regions on the central nervous system: the spike rate of one neuron is modulated by the pulses emitted by the other. Here we investigated the social interactions between pairs of Gymnotus carapo, a highly territorial species. Using time series analysis, machine learning techniques, and information theory, we developed a methodology to identify communicative patterns in the pulses emitted by the fish. In addition, we observed a causal relation on the pattern emission: only one of the fish modifies the future behavior of its conspecific. This flow of information seems to be related to the dominance/submission role assumed by each individual. From the literature on the physiology of the emission of new pulses, we developed new hypotheses about the functioning of the neural systems responsible for modulating the intervals between pulses and on how these systems can be modified by hormones secreted during a dominance contest. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/09013-8 - Electrocommunication in Gymnotus carapo: a study of biological complexity through a real-time interface between computational models and living nervous systems
Grantee:Rafael Tuma Guariento
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)