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Coordination of locomotion and feeding in freely moving animals

short summary

To study motor coordination, one should be able to observe two motor actions simultaneously. In worms, locomotion and pumping are coupled during foraging (i.e. entry into a lawn of bacteria). We will study how motor coordination depends on sensory information and possibly detect sensory feedback loops between the pharynx and somatic neural networks.

Estimated time 2
Audience computational neuro
Topic systems neuro

Possible audience:

  • worm community
  • computational neuroscience
  • physicists

Possible topics:

  • Technology and Methods development
  • Molecular
  • Systems
  • Physics/Information theory


Little is known about the pharyngeal motions in freely moving animals. And while foraging has been studied, the pumping behavior was mostly assumed to be trivially on/off. We would like to see how the locomotion-pumping coupling is working in detail by dissecting foraging behavior in large numbers of animals.


Develop robust high-throughput assay on the way including reliable analysis scripts. Develop the framework for future papers using figures/protocols and visuals.


1. develop pumping tracking for freely moving worms 2. assay mutants lacking sensory informations 3. delete RIP gap junction 4. screen neuropeptide mutants

Best possible outcome/result

Coupling is completely mediated by RIP-I1! Then we can computationally dissect the signal going through that bottleneck

Required technology

New dependencies
Theory/ analysis aspects

We need to be able to reliably measure pumping in these animals. In development

Experimental aspects

Need to cross many strains.

wiki/documentation/projectsummaries/freelymovingpumping.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/12 04:51 by mscholz