Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Stochastic modeling of spontaneous behavior in Melibe Leonina
Student Author(s): Schivell, Amanda Elizabeth
Faculty Advisor(s): Thompson, Stuart
Pages: 26
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1991
Abstract: The nudibranch mollusc Melibe leonina has been shown to be useful for neurophysiological studies due to its relatively simple nervous system. As a precursor to understanding nerve pathways for behavior lies the study of the behaviors themselves. Spontaneously occurring behavior of Melibe was observed and analyzed to determine patterns and predictability. Nine individually occuring behaviors and copulation made up the behavior catalog that was used. Results showed that there is an exponential transistion rate out of the feeding mode of Melibe, that there is a correlation between time spent feeding and size of the animal, and that the patterns of behavior can be predicted by a stochastic, one-step transitional probability matrix. Two behavior loops are also present in the Melibe which may demonstrate a hormonal change between them. The predictability of behavior can assist electrophysiological studies with live animal prepartation by allowing the researcher to predict and prepare for certain behaviors.