Meeting Abstract

103.5  Saturday, Jan. 7  Coordination of oculomotor and locomotor systems in fishes MANDECKI, Joanna L.*; WESTNEAT, Mark W.; University of Chicago; Field Museum of Natural History

An animal’s success in its environment ultimately depends on its behavior as a coordinated whole. Typically functional systems such as feeding, sensing, respiration, and locomotion are studied in isolation, and while such work is important for our basic understanding of organismal anatomy and function, studies that consider the integration of functional systems are now crucial to our understanding of animal behavior. Here we investigate the temporal synchrony of oculomotor and locomotor movements in labriform fishes, which generate propulsive forces by oscillating the pectoral fins. In a previous study we found that saccadic eye movements are preferentially timed to fin abduction during steady swimming in shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata). Using a flow tank and high-speed videography we survey the coupling of locomotor and oculomotor behaviors across surfperches (including fry), damselfishes, wrasses, and tubesnouts, which together span a diversity of fin kinematics and ecologies. Results suggest that the presence of coordinated oculomotor-locomotor behavior may be linked to planktivory. Preliminary results also indicate that this coordination system varies when the animal switches from steady swimming to maneuvering behavior. Exploring the coordination of fins, eyes, and feeding behavior will be important for understanding the biomechanics of planktivory. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DGE-0903637 and DEB-0844745.