Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Sensory ecology: Vibrational sensing in semi-terrestrial crabs
Student Author(s): Arch, Victoria
Faculty Advisor(s): Thompson, Stuart
Pages: 22
Location: Final Papers Biology 176H
Date: June 2001
Abstract: Pachygrapsis crassipes, the lined purple shore crab, is equipped with extremely sensitive sensory hairs on its walking legs. These hairs potentially play a major role in mediating the crab's sensory relationship with its environment, including encoding vital information such as the approach of predators. This study examined the vibratory sensitivity of these tactile sensors in order to quantify the frequency range to which they respond, as well as their absolute level of sensitivity. Electrophysiological methods were used to determine the sensors' threshold to impulse-like stimuli. Neuronal responses were then tested over a wide range of frequencies and intensities to more completely quantify the sensitivity range.