Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Lincoln Gray

Susan Halsell

Rory DePaolis

Abstract

The genetic make up of Drosophila melanogaster aligns closely enough to humans for them to function as models for the study of hearing loss and disorders (Albert & Göpfert, 2015; Duyk et al., 1997). The purpose of this project was to design a computer automated program capable of quickly assessing the hearing of flies based on their suppression of courtship behaviors in the presence of an audible stimulus. We were unable to document the male courtship song due to low frequency noise present in our sound attenuating booth. We continued the experiment using a spectrum of fly noise unassociated with courtship. When our program was triggered by fly noise, it responded by playing a synthetic pulse tone at a variety of frequencies and intensities. It then measured the interval of time between the tone and the next fly trigger, known as the inter-buzz interval. We considered length of the inter-buzz interval as an indicator of fly perception. Our data was originally highly skewed, with more than 75% below the mean length. After disregarding the longest 25% of intervals as extreme values, we produced a significant positive trend between intensity level and inter-buzz interval length. The correlation indicated that the louder the tone was, the longer the flies ceased their activity. While we have begun the programming process, more success would likely be found by further calibrating the trigger criteria and documenting the suppression of the courtship song, rather than fly noise.

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