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Journal Article

Whole-field visual motion drives swimming in larval zebrafish via a stochastic process


Portugues,  Ruben
Max Planck Research Group: Sensorimotor Control / Portugues, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Portugues, R., Haesemeyer, M., Blum, M. L., & Engert, F. (2015). Whole-field visual motion drives swimming in larval zebrafish via a stochastic process. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 218(9), 1433-1443. doi:10.1242/jeb.118299.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-A65D-E
Caudo-rostral whole-field visual motion elicits forward locomotion in many organisms, including larval zebrafish. Here, we investigate the dependence on the latency to initiate this forward swimming as a function of the speed of the visual motion. We show that latency is highly dependent on speed for slow speeds (< 10 mm s(-1)) and then plateaus for higher values. Typical latencies are > 1.5 s, which is much longer than neuronal transduction processes. What mechanisms underlie these long latencies? We propose two alternative, biologically inspired models that could account for this latency to initiate swimming: an integrate and fire model, which is history dependent, and a stochastic Poisson model, which has no history dependence. We use these models to predict the behavior of larvae when presented with whole-field motion of varying speed and find that the stochastic process shows better agreement with the experimental data. Finally, we discuss possible neuronal implementations of these models.