Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Patsy Dickinson


Modulation in neural systems is important for regulating physiology and behavior (Wright et al., 2010). Peptides, hormones, and amines are common neural modulators, acting on many neural systems across species. One group of neural networks that can be regulated are central pattern generators (CPGs), which generate rhythmic neural patterns, which drive behaviors (Marder and Bucher, 2001). Octopamine, and its precursor tyramine, are two amines that have been found to regulate (CPGs) across species (Cooke, 2002; Fussnecker et al., 2006). One role of octopamine in the decapod neurogenic heart is regulating the frequency and the duration of heart beats. However, the precise site of octopamine modulation within the cardiac system is not yet known (Kurumoto and Ebara, 1991). One possible site of action is the cardiac ganglion (CG), the CPG in decapod hearts. The transcripts for the enzymes required to synthesize octopamine from tyramine have been identified and localized in the CG (Christie et al., 2018). This would suggest that octopamine is produced in the CG, where it could have a direct action on those neurons, or it could be released peripherally. We have found individual variation in the response to octopamine and its precursor tyramine, and significant effects of frequency and contraction amplitude in the whole heart.