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Electroreception: A “Sixth Sense”

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Krishna Amin.

Sharks, sturgeons and salamanders and other related species all have special sense organs containing ‘electroreceptor cells’ that allow them to detect the weak, low-frequency electric fields surrounding animals in water, which they use for hunting. Electroreceptors are closely related to the mechanosensory ‘hair cells’ of the lateral line system found in all fishes and aquatic-stage amphibians, which respond to local water movement (‘distant touch’) and resemble the vestibular hair cells found in our inner ears. Some lineages of teleost fishes (like knifefishes, including the electric eel) have independently evolved electroreceptors that detect high-frequency self-generated electric fields, used for ‘electrolocation’ and communication. Clare Baker will introduce this fascinating “sixth sense” and describe her lab’s work on the embryonic development and evolution of electroreceptors.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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