Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) fulfill an important role in communication and navigation in many species. Because of their social and affective significance, rodent USVs are increasingly used as a behavioral measure in neurodevelopmental and neurolinguistic research. Reliably attributing USVs to their emitter during close interactions has emerged as a difficult, key challenge. If addressed, all subsequent analyses gain substantial confidence. We present a hybrid ultrasonic tracking system, HyVL, that synergistically integrates a high-resolution acoustic camera with high-quality ultrasonic microphones. HyVL is the first to achieve millimeter precision (~3.4-4.8mm, 91% assigned) in localizing USVs, ~3x better than other systems, approaching the physical limits (mouse snout ~ 10mm). We analyze mouse courtship interactions and demonstrate that males and females vocalize in starkly different relative spatial positions, and that the fraction of female vocalizations has likely been overestimated previously due to imprecise localization. Further, we find that when two male mice interact with one female, one of the males takes a dominant role in the interaction both in terms of the vocalization rate and the location relative to the female. HyVL substantially improves the precision with which social communication between rodents can be studied. It is also affordable, open-source, easy to set up, can be integrated with existing setups, and reduces the required number of experiments and animals.
All code necessary to implement the HyVL system has been deposited at https://github.com/benglitz/HyVL and https://doi.org/10.34973/7kgc-ta72.All data has been made available at https://doi.org/10.34973/7kgc-ta72.
- Bernhard Englitz
- Bernhard Englitz
- Bernhard Englitz
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All of the animals and experimental procedures were conducted according to the guidelines of the Animal Welfare Body of the Central Animal Facility at the Radboud University. The protocol was approved by the Dutch National Committee CCD (Permit Number: 2017-0041).
- Brice Bathellier, CNRS, France
- Received: January 11, 2023
- Preprint posted: January 20, 2023 (view preprint)
- Accepted: July 25, 2023
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 26, 2023 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: July 27, 2023 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: September 26, 2023 (version 3)
- Version of Record updated: September 28, 2023 (version 4)
© 2023, Sterling et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The functional complementarity of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and optokinetic reflex (OKR) allows for optimal combined gaze stabilization responses (CGR) in light. While sensory substitution has been reported following complete vestibular loss, the capacity of the central vestibular system to compensate for partial peripheral vestibular loss remains to be determined. Here, we first demonstrate the efficacy of a 6-week subchronic ototoxic protocol in inducing transient and partial vestibular loss which equally affects the canal- and otolith-dependent VORs. Immunostaining of hair cells in the vestibular sensory epithelia revealed that organ-specific alteration of type I, but not type II, hair cells correlates with functional impairments. The decrease in VOR performance is paralleled with an increase in the gain of the OKR occurring in a specific range of frequencies where VOR normally dominates gaze stabilization, compatible with a sensory substitution process. Comparison of unimodal OKR or VOR versus bimodal CGR revealed that visuo-vestibular interactions remain reduced despite a significant recovery in the VOR. Modeling and sweep-based analysis revealed that the differential capacity to optimally combine OKR and VOR correlates with the reproducibility of the VOR responses. Overall, these results shed light on the multisensory reweighting occurring in pathologies with fluctuating peripheral vestibular malfunction.
Genuinely new discovery transcends existing knowledge. Despite this, many analyses in systems neuroscience neglect to test new speculative hypotheses against benchmark empirical facts. Some of these analyses inadvertently use circular reasoning to present existing knowledge as new discovery. Here, I discuss that this problem can confound key results and estimate that it has affected more than three thousand studies in network neuroscience over the last decade. I suggest that future studies can reduce this problem by limiting the use of speculative evidence, integrating existing knowledge into benchmark models, and rigorously testing proposed discoveries against these models. I conclude with a summary of practical challenges and recommendations.