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Title: The effect of temperature on pressure sensing in the crab Carcinus maenas (L.)
Author: O'Callaghan, Felicity E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 2793
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Hydrostatic pressure sensing is used by aquatic animals to estimate depth and to synchronize behaviour with the tides. Pressure sensors examined to date depend on the compression of a fluid, making them susceptible to temperature change. Despite this, the effects of temperature on pressure sensing have not so far been researched. This thesis examined the effects of temperature on the afferent firing rate of thread hair pressure receptors in the crab Carcinus maenas. It tested the hypothesis that for sensors responding positively to rising pressure, an increase in temperature should counteract any contraction in volume, thereby leading to a weaker neural response; vice versa, a stronger response was predicted for a temperature decrease. A novel system was developed which allowed the simultaneous application of sinusoidal pressure change from 150 to 350 mbar and cycles of temperature, typically spanning between 16 and 22 °C, while extracellular recordings were made en passant from afferent nerves innervating statocyst thread hairs. Motor programmes were designed to stimulate thread hairs sensitive to clockwise and anticlockwise rotation through continuous or interrupted bouts of oscillation within the horizontal plane. During constant pressure, raising temperature led to increases in spike frequency and amplitude, with Q10s between 3 and 5 for spike frequency but less than 2 for amplitude. Cooling caused the elimination or decrease of pressure responses while increasing them on heating, thereby contradicting the aforementioned hypothesis of temperature mimicking pressure change. Changes in the timing of pressure responses were also observed. In preparations which were non-responsive to pressure change, temperature change led to bursts in firing at the peaks or troughs of pressure cycles in 28 of 42 preparations, with evidence for recruitment of formerly silent units. The results could not be fully explained under the existing model for pressure sensing by thread hairs, highlighting the necessity for further anatomical studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Carcinus maenas ; Crabs ; Pressure