Van Wert Jacey C.

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Last Name
Van Wert
First Name
Jacey C.

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  • Article
    Lateral line sensitivity in free-swimming toadfish Opsanus tau
    (Company of Biologists, 2019-01-25) Mensinger, Allen F. ; Van Wert, Jacey C. ; Rogers, Loranzie S.
    A longstanding question in aquatic animal sensory physiology is the impact of self-generated movement on lateral line sensitivity. One hypothesis is that efferent modulation of the sensory hair cells cancels self-generated noise and allows fish to sample their surroundings while swimming. In this study, microwire electrodes were chronically implanted into the anterior lateral line nerve of oyster toadfish and neural activity was monitored during forward movement. Fish were allowed to freely swim or were moved by a tethered sled. In all cases, neural activity increased during movement with no evidence of efferent modulation. The anterior lateral line of moving fish responded to a vibrating sphere or the tail oscillations of a robotic fish, indicating that the lateral line also remains sensitive to outside stimulus during self-generated movement. The results suggest that during normal swim speeds, lateral line neuromasts are not saturated and retain the ability to detect external stimuli without efferent modulation.
  • Article
    Seasonal and daily patterns of the mating calls of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau.
    (University of Chicago Press, 2019-02-08) Van Wert, Jacey C. ; Mensinger, Allen F.
    Acoustic communication is vital across many taxa for mating behavior, defense, and social interactions. Male oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, produce courtship calls, or “boatwhistles,” characterized by an initial broadband segment (30–50 ms) and a longer tone-like second part (200–650 ms) during mating season. Male calls were monitored continuously with an in situ SoundTrap hydrophone that was deployed in Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, during the 2015 mating season. At least 10 vocalizing males were positively identified by their unique acoustic signatures. This resident population was tracked throughout the season, with several individuals tracked for extended periods of time (72 hours). Toadfish began calling in mid-May when water temperature reached 14.6 °C with these early-season “precursor” boatwhistles that were shorter in duration and contained less distinct tonal segments compared to calls later in the season. The resident toadfish stopped calling in mid-August, when water temperature was about 25.5 °C. The pulse repetition rate of the tonal part of the call was significantly related to ambient water temperature during both short-term (hourly) and long-term (weekly) monitoring. This was the first study to monitor individuals in the same population of oyster toadfish in situ continuously throughout the mating season.