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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Taste coding and modulation in the locust

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Understanding how tastes are encoded by networks of neurones in insects not only provides us with a greater understanding of sensory processing and integration in the central nervous system, but also an understanding of how pest species select food and avoid noxious chemicals.

Such information can provide us with a greater means to combat the economic damage they cause. Chemosensory receptors are widely distributed on the legs of insects and provide vital gustatory cues about potential food sources. In the lab we analyse the anatomy, distribution and coding properties of the taste receptors on the legs of the desert locust, the coding of different tastes in neuronal networks, and the behaviour that stimulation of the chemoreceptors evokes. These analyses involve the use of a variety of anatomical, physiological and behavioural techniques including digital microscopy, intracellular recording and staining.

Related research groups

Biomedical Sciences
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