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Neuroscience Brown Bag Series

Thursday, March 15, 2018,
  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 316

Juliane Krueger

Department of Psychology

Vanderbilt University

Anatomical features of the auditory system of two pinniped species

Pinnipeds (sea lions, seals, and walruses) are carnivorous mammals who have adapted to a life on land and at sea. Very little is known about their central nervous system but recent studies have begun to characterize their sensory systems. Their ape-size brains are marked by an extensive arrangement of sulci and gyri and thus far appear to be similar in their organization to other carnivores. Past anatomical studies from our lab have investigated the somatosensory (Sawyer et al, 2016) and the visual (Turner et al, 2017) networks of the Northern sea elephant (Mirounga angustirostris) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Here, we extend this work to include the auditory system. Utilizing a battery of anatomical stains and immunohistochemical assays (Nissl substance, cytochrome oxidase, and vesicular glutamate transporters for example), we identified several major nuclei of the auditory pathway from brainstem to cortex. We found strong architectural similarities in auditory brainstem, midbrain, thalamus, and cortex between the two species as well as similarities with the auditory system of other species such as cats, ferrets, and dogs. Thus, these results may provide additional insight in the evolution of large brains supporting a conservation of a set of auditory nuclei across species.