By Liza Shevchuk
The paper, Optic flow in the natural habitats of zebrafish supports spatial biases in visual self-motion estimation, was published in the Current Biology Journal. The project team includes 7 different institutions, led by Berkeley and Northwestern University.
Authors include Dr. Emily Cooper, and two postdocs who previously worked in the Cooper Lab when the project began: Drs. Emma Alexander and Lanya Cai. The rest of the team is a group of international collaborators with home institutions in Canada, India, Germany, and US. See the abstract from the paper below.
Using the larval zebrafish as a model, we recorded natural optic flow associated with swimming trajectories in the animal's habitat with an omnidirectional camera mounted on a mechanical arm. An analysis of these flow fields suggests that lateral regions of the lower visual field are most informative about swimming direction and speed. This pattern is consistent with recent findings that zebrafish optomotor responses are preferentially driven by optic flow in the lateral lower visual field, which we extend with behavioral results from a high-resolution spherical arena. Spatial biases in optic-flow sampling are likely pervasive because they are an effective strategy for determining self motion in noisy natural environments.
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