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Front. Neural Circuits | doi: 10.3389/fncir.2018.00018

Coding schemes in the archerfish optic tectum

Adam Reichenthal1,  Mor Ben-Tov2 and  Ronen Segev1*
  • 1Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • 2Department of Neurobiology, Duke University School of Medicine, United States

Many studies have yielded valuable knowledge on the early visual system but it is biased since the studies have focused on terrestrial mammals alone. Here, to better account for visual systems in different environments and animal classes, we studied the structure of early visual processing in the archerfish which harnesses its extreme visual ability to hunt by shooting water jets at prey hanging on vegetation above the water. Thus the archerfish provides a unique opportunity to study visual processing in a vertebrate which is an expert vision-guided predator with a very different brain structure than mammals. The receptive field structures in the archerfish (both sexes) optic tectum, the main visual processing region in the fish brain, were measured and linear non-linear cascades were used to analyze their properties. The findings indicate that the spatial receptive field structures lie on a continuum between circular and elliptical shapes. In addition, the cells' functional properties display a richness of response characteristics, since many cells could be captured by more than a single linear filter. Finally, the non-linear response functions that link linear filters and neuronal responses were found to be similar to the non-linear functions of models that describe terrestrial mammalian single cell activity. Overall our results help to better understand the early visual processing system across vertebrates.

Keywords: spike triggered covariance, White noise analysis, linear nonlinear models, receptive field, optic tectum

Received: 28 Nov 2017; Accepted: 13 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Jason W. Triplett, Children’s National Health System, United States

Reviewed by:

Carlos D. Aizenman, Brown University, United States
Matthew T. Colonnese, George Washington University, United States
Alexander Sher, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Reichenthal, Ben-Tov and Segev. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Ronen Segev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel, ronensgv@bgu.ac.il