Electric fish — and humans — pause before communicating key points

American writer and humorist Mark Twain, a master of language and noted lecturer, once offered, “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” Electric fish and today’s TED talk speakers take a page from Twain’s playbook. They pause before sharing something particularly meaningful. Pauses also […]

Zeroing out their own zap

Electric fish generate electric pulses to communicate with other fish and sense their surroundings. Some species broadcast shorter electric pulses, while others send out long ones. But all that zip-zapping in the water can get confusing. The fish need to filter out their own pulses so they can identify external messages and only respond to […]

New maps hint at how electric fish got their big brains

From the WashU Newsroom… Helmet-heads of the freshwater fish world, African mormyrid fishes are known for having a brain-to-body size ratio that is similar to humans. But there’s actually a great deal of variation in the size of mormyrid brains. These differences provide an opportunity to look at what’s behind the bulk. Researchers from Washington […]

Carlson receives $700 K from National Science Foundation

Bruce Carlson, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, received $700,000 from the National Science Foundation for research on “Adaptive rewiring of a sensory network through spike-timing-dependent plasticity.” Read more.