All Publications


  • Physiological state matching in a pair bonded poison frog ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE Nowicki, J. P., Rodriguez, C., Lee, J. C., Goolsby, B. C., Yang, C., Cleland, T. A., O'Connell, L. A. 2024; 11 (7)
  • Differential Neuroanatomical, Neurochemical, and Behavioral Impacts of Early-Age Isolation in a Eusocial Insect. Brain, behavior and evolution Goolsby, B. C., Smith, E. J., Muratore, I. B., Coto, Z. N., Muscedere, M. L., Traniello, J. F. 2024: 1-13

    Abstract

    Social experience early in life appears to be necessary for the development of species-typical behavior. Although isolation during critical periods of maturation has been shown to impact behavior by altering gene expression and brain development in invertebrates and vertebrates, workers of some ant species appear resilient to social deprivation and other neurobiological challenges that occur during senescence or due to loss of sensory input. It is unclear if and to what degree neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and behavior will show deficiencies if social experience in the early adult life of worker ants is compromised.We reared newly eclosed adult workers of Camponotus floridanus under conditions of social isolation for 2-53 days, quantified brain compartment volumes, recorded biogenic amine levels in individual brains, and evaluated movement and behavioral performance to compare the neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, brood-care behavior, and foraging (predatory behavior) of isolated workers with that of workers experiencing natural social contact after adult eclosion.We found that the volume of the antennal lobe, which processes olfactory inputs, was significantly reduced in workers isolated for an average of 40 days, whereas the size of the mushroom bodies, centers of higher-order sensory processing, increased after eclosion and was not significantly different from controls. Titers of the neuromodulators serotonin, dopamine, and octopamine remained stable and were not significantly different in isolation treatments and controls. Brood care, predation, and overall movement were reduced in workers lacking social contact early in life.These results suggest that the behavioral development of isolated workers of C. floridanus is specifically impacted by a reduction in the size of the antennal lobe. Task performance and locomotor ability therefore appear to be sensitive to a loss of social contact through a reduction of olfactory processing ability rather than change in the size of the mushroom bodies, which serve important functions in learning and memory, or the central complex, which controls movement.

    View details for DOI 10.1159/000539546

    View details for PubMedID 38857586

  • Behavioral and Neural Resilience to Isolation in a Eusocial Insect. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology Goolsby, B. C., Jordan Smith, E., Muratore, I. B., Coto, Z. N., Muscedere, M. L., Traniello, J. F. 2023

    Abstract

    Newly eclosed (callow) Camponotus floridanus minor workers were subjected to variable periods of isolation to determine whether and how diminished social experience and isolation influence the development of the brain, including compartment volumes, biogenic amine levels, and behavioral performance. Social experience early in life appears to be necessary for the development of species-typical behavior in animals ranging from insects to primates. Isolation during critical periods of maturation has been shown to impact behavior, gene expression, and brain development in vertebrate and invertebrate clades, yet remarkable resilience to social deprivation, senescence, and loss of sensory input have been demonstrated in some ant species. We reared workers of Camponotus floridanus under conditions of social isolation for increasing time periods up to 45 days and evaluated their behavioral performance, quantified brain development and biogenic amine levels, and compared results of isolated workers with control workers that had natural social contact during development. We found that brood care and foraging performance by isolated workers were unaffected by a lack of social contact. Antennal lobe volume loss occurred in ants experiencing longer isolation periods, while the size of the mushroom bodies, which function in higher-order sensory processing, increased over time after eclosion and were not different from mature controls. Titers of the neuromodulators serotonin, dopamine, and octopamine remained stable in isolated workers. Our results indicate that workers of C. floridanus are largely robust to the deprivation of social contact early in life.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2023.06.29.546928

    View details for PubMedID 37425857

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10326991

  • Home security cameras as a tool for behavior observations and science equity. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology Goolsby, B. C., Fischer, M., Pareja-Mejia, D., Lewis, A. R., Raboisson, G., Oa Connell, L. A. 2023

    Abstract

    Reliably capturing transient animal behavior in the field and laboratory remains a logistical and financial challenge, especially for small ectotherms. Here, we present a camera system that is affordable, accessible, and suitable to monitor small, cold-blooded animals historically overlooked by commercial camera traps, such as small amphibians. The system is weather-resistant, can operate offline or online, and allows collection of time-sensitive behavioral data in laboratory and field conditions with continuous data storage for up to four weeks. The lightweight camera can also utilize phone notifications over Wi-Fi so that observers can be alerted when animals enter a space of interest, enabling sample collection at proper time periods. We present our findings, both technological and scientific, in an effort to elevate tools that enable researchers to maximize use of their research budgets. We discuss the relative affordability of our system for researchers in South America, which is home to the largest population of ectotherm diversity.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2023.04.17.537238

    View details for PubMedID 37131676

  • Feed Me: Robotic Infiltration of Poison Frog Families Living Machines: Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems Chen, T. G., Goolsby, B. C., Bernal, G., O'Connell, L. A., Cutkosky, M. 2023: 293-302
  • Evidence for Empathy in Pair Bonding Poison Frogs bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology Nowicki, J. P., Rodriguez, C., Lee, J. C., Goolsby, B. C., Yang, C., Cleland, T. A., O'Connell, L. A. 2022