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Publiée le 08/04/11 à 13h30

Licence Creative Commons CC-By-NC

Water motions provide a wealth a sensory information in the aquatic world. Fish exploit this information with their lateral line. This sensory system consists of up to several thousand receptive units, the so-called neuromasts, distributed across the entire body of the animal. Neuromasts are made up of a patch of sensory hair cells similar to those in the vertebrate inner ear, and covered by a gelatinous cupula. There are two types of neuromasts, superficial neuromasts that are located on the surface of the skin, and canal neuromasts that are located within a system of subdermal canals. The canal fluid is in contact with the outside water through a series of pores. Neuromasts are directionally sensitive and respond either to water velocity (superficial neuromasts) or pressure differences (canal neuromasts). Due to its astonishing sensitivity and unique morphological design, the lateral line serves as a model system for bioinspired robotic systems. To make this system accessible to bio-engineering approaches, knowledge is required about the stimuli relevant to the lateral line, the peripheral layout of the system including location and orientation of the receptors, the bio-morphlogical properties of the receptors and the representation of hydrodynamic stimuli by the neuronal activity of nerve cells. In this presentation, I will focus mainly on the role of the lateral line for the detection, localization and neuronal representation of local hydrodynamic stimuli generated by a dipole source.