Multichannel recordings and data logger
The semantics of calls is essential for the acoustic communication of individuals in social groups. The aim of this project is to probe the acoustic forebrain of songbirds to prove the existence of neurons that represent the semantic meaning of vocalizations. Finding such neurons would allow us to investigate their dynamic properties during development and their gender specificity. The neural representation of sounds specifically used in a context specific natural behavior has not been investigated so far. For this project, together with electrode manufacturers, we are currently developing different 16 channel electrode arrays, and in parallel an ultralight (approximately 1.8 g) neuronal data logger device. This enables recordings of neuronal activity with up to 16 channels in the brain of freely behaving small songbirds. The commercially available devices to date do not allow studies of birds in a social context. Extending the data logger by an on-board microphone will allow us to record vocalizations synchronized to the neural data, while the birds behave in a social environment.