Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Hadley Horch

Second Advisor

Patsy Dickinson


The auditory system of the Mediterranean field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus) is capable of profound compensatory plasticity. Following deafferentation due to the loss of an auditory organ, the dendrites of intermediate auditory neuron Ascending Neuron 2 (AN-2) grow across the midline and functionally connect to contralateral afferents. The loss of the auditory organ can be mimicked with reversible cold-deactivation, in which cooled Peltier elements silence the auditory organ and its afferents. Though this would presumably prevent AN-2 from firing, cooling instead induces a novel firing pattern called DOPE (delayed-onset, prolonged-excitation). In this study, intracellular physiological recordings were completed before, during, and after cooling in response to “chirp” and “pulse” sounds. Analysis was performed within and across crickets to characterize DOPE. Results revealed expected variability across individuals, as well as a wider spread of onset delay and a decrease in spike frequency and number of spikes per burst relative to baseline within individuals during cooling. Generally, subsequent warming only partially restored the neuronal responses to baseline as measured by all three parameters. This was particularly true in response to “pulse” stimuli. Future experiments will investigate if DOPE is caused by synaptic inputs or intrinsic properties of AN-2, as well as the role of inhibition in the circuit. Eventually, we hope to develop a complete model of the auditory circuit for future investigations of plasticity, with ramifications for treating human neuronal injury.