Event Abstract

From Blind Cave Fish to the Tappan Zee Bridge – A Tale of “Translational Neuroethology”

  • 1 University of Maryland, Department of Biology, United States

Over the more than 45 years since I started working on fish hearing there has been a substantial change in the way that the public views what we scientists do and how we do it. In contrast to past years, society today expects that scientists will ask and answer questions of relatively immediate social value. Indeed, the word “translational” has entered the vocabulary of much of science. Thus, where we once thought only in terms of answering excellent basic science questions, the current, and growing, expectation is that research today will be reasonably closely tied to human needs.

In this presentation I am going to talk about the research that has been the central theme of most of my scientific career – how, what, and why fish hear, and the evolution of vertebrate hearing. Indeed, my research started out with trying to understand what fish hear, and then continued to include questions on such topics as: the morphology and ultrastructure of the auditory system; development, regeneration, and evolution of sensory hair cells and the ear; the physiology of the inner ear; why animals hear; and the neuroethology of fish ultrasound detection. And along with way I digressed a bit into work on sharks and marine mammals, and also edited a few books.

However, more recently I have “reinvented” myself so that while I retain my fundamental interest in basic auditory neuroethology, the specific questions I now ask enable me to make direct contributions to solving some quite interesting and important societal problems. These tend to focus on how the addition of very substantial and intense man-made sounds to the environment can affect animals, and how to evaluate and mitigate those effects. Indeed, my personal “translation” has become a great deal of fun, and has led me in new and exciting directions I would not have imagined even 10 years ago.

Keywords: anthropogenic, bioacoustics, Ear, evolution, fish, Hearing, Sound

Conference: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology, College Park. Maryland USA, United States, 5 Aug - 10 Aug, 2012.

Presentation Type: Plenary Address (including special lectures) (Note, these individuals have already been invited)

Topic: Sensory: Audition

Citation: Popper AN (2012). From Blind Cave Fish to the Tappan Zee Bridge – A Tale of “Translational Neuroethology”. Front. Behav. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnbeh.2012.27.00030

Received: 27 Apr 2012; Published Online: 07 Jul 2012.

* Correspondence: Dr. Arthur N Popper, University of Maryland, Department of Biology, College Park, Maryland, 20742, United States, apopper@umd.edu

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