Evolution of mechanisms of sensitization: Reduced Preparation
Students train dissected parts of an individual Aplysia. Last year (2009), senior Jacob Kjelland showed that weak tactile stimuli to the dissected tail paired with strong noxious stimuli to the dissected siphon enhanced subsequent withdrawal responses to tail stimuli. Students are presently investigating the role of serotonin signaling in this behavior (we hypothesize that it increases memory), by either blocking serotonin receptors in Aplysia, or repeating the whole experiment on a related species (Dolabrifera dolabrifera) which lacks serotonin signaling. The video below illustrates the recording of contraction force by the siphon of a dissected Aplysia following stimulation of the tail.