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Title: Antennal mechanics and acoustic stimulation in Drosophila melanogaster audition
Author: Morley, Erica Lois
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 6757
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Acoustic communication is known to be important in the courtship of Drosophila melanogaster. Instigated by the male, courtship includes a 'love song' generated by his unilateral extension and vibration of a wing in close proximity to a female. The flagellar antennae of both males and females serve as an acoustic receiver sensitive to the particle velocity component of a sound, with the chordotonal Johnston's organ transducing its mechanical displacement into neural impulses. Not only do the mechanosensory cells within Johnston's organ transduce mechanical displacements, but they also generate active motion of the antenna in an amplitude dependent manner; amplifying quiet, low frequency stimuli and modifying resonance by hundreds of hertz as stimulus amplitude changes. Although the nonlinear receiver in this species has been described, its behavioural functionality remains unknown. Here, D. melanogaster antennal mechanics are investigated with particular focus on their non linear characteristics and the acoustic properties of the stimuli they have evolved to receive. Using laser Doppler vibrometry, nanometre-scale displacements of the antennae are measured to characterise its non linear response with regard to both stimulus direction and mating state. More than this, the stimuli reaching the antenna are also quantified and a novel tool for the acoustic stimulation of the D. melanogaster antenna is developed. This work establishes directional sensitivity in this species and reveals a novel cue in directional hearing. This thesis addresses issues of inherent directionality, power and geometry of particle velocity stimuli that are often overlooked in insect bioacoustics and constitutes a significant contribution to the understanding of directional sensitivity in particle velocity receivers in general. With further understanding of the acoustic conditions around the receiver and its directional response, questions concerning the function of the antennal nonlinearity in this species can begin to be addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available