Chemical Orientation Strategies of the Crayfish, Orconectes virilis are Influenced by the Hydrodynamics of their Native Environment: An Example of Sensory Bias

TitleChemical Orientation Strategies of the Crayfish, Orconectes virilis are Influenced by the Hydrodynamics of their Native Environment: An Example of Sensory Bias
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsFerrante PA
AdvisorMoore PA
Academic DepartmentDepartment of Biological Sciences
DegreeMaster's of Science
Number of Pages64 pp.
UniversityBowling Green State University
CityBowling Green, OH
Thesis TypeMS Thesis
KeywordsSENSORY
Abstract

The function of a sensory system is to effectively extract relevant information about the environment in order for an organism to make behavioral decisions. Sensory stimuli can be shaped, in part, by their propagation within the local habitat. In order to separate relevant information from background noise, sensory systems are equipped with filters. Because information differs between environments, sensory filters are matched to the specific environment in which an organism lives, thus developing what are known as 'matched filters.' An organism's sensory filters are therefore 'tuned' to the demands of its unique sensory environment. The 'tuning' of an organism's sensory system is caused by the pre-existing sensory biases that are inherent within an organism. As interactions between an organism and its environment are continued over time, natural selection will drive an organism's sensory biases to align, or become 'tuned,' to use types of information that are relevant within the specific environment. The purpose of this thesis is to determine how the sensory biases of aquatic organisms will influence their behavior in response to chemical information. In order to ascertain this knowledge, the orientation behavior of crayfish, Orconectes virilis originating from two distinct hydrodynamic habitats (i.e. lentic and lotic) was tested. Crayfish originating from each habitat were allowed to orient to an odor source under both lentic and lotic conditions. We analyzed both spatial (e.g. heading angle) and temporal (e.g. walking speed) characteristics of the orientation patterns. The results of this study showed that each type of crayfish displayed unique orientation behaviors under each condition. From these results we conclude that lentic and lotic crayfish, O. virilis have behaviors that are uniquely 'tuned' to the hydrodynamics of their native habitat. Furthermore, this supports the theory that 'sensory biases' drive an organism to develop 'matched filters.'

URLhttp://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1213281400