Melville J. Wohlgemuth
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working at Johns Hopkins University in the laboratory of Cynthia F. Moss. However, I am starting a new faculty position at the University of Arizona in the Department of Neuroscience in January, 2020. Please visit the new website: arizonabatlab.com
I am a behavioral neuroscientist with a specific interest in sensorimotor integration. My work is on the echolocating bat, and how the bat uses auditory information to adapt sonar vocalizations as a model for audio-vocal integration.
As the bat hunts and captures insects (schematic at bottom), sonar vocalizations are produced that return sonar echoes to the bat's auditory system. The bat then uses this information to adaptively shape the features of subsequent sonar vocalizations, ear/head motion, and flight behaviors. In this way, sensory activity influences motor activity, and motor behaviors feed back upon sensory representations. I study the reciprocal feedback loops between the bat's sensory representation of the environment, and the active sensing behaviors used for gathering sensory information.
a) Shown at the three main stages of insect capture. During search phase, the bat has yet to find a target. Once a target is found, the bat locks its sonar beam on the target and increases vocal production rate. In the final, terminal buzz phase, the bat vocalizes at a very high rate (> 15o Hz) to gather more sensory information. b) Spectrograms of sonar calls as the bat pursues an insect. The bat uses sonar echo feedback information to change the acoustics of sonar vocalizations as the target distance decreases.