Primitive cognition in slime moulds
Learning, defined as a change in behaviour evoked by experience, has hitherto been investigated almost exclusively in multicellular neural organisms. Evidence for learning in non-neural multicellular organisms is scant and only a few unequivocal reports of learning have been described in single celled organisms. In this seminar, in a first part, I will demonstrate habituation, an unmistakable form of learning, in the non-neural organism Physarum polycephalum. In a second part, I will show that learned information can be transferred from one cell to another via cell fusion. Our results point to the diversity of organisms lacking neurons, which likely display a hitherto unrecognized capacity for learning, and suggest that slime moulds may be an ideal model system in which to investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying primitive cognition.
Date: 16 October 2017, 13:00 (Monday, 2nd week, Michaelmas 2017)
Venue: University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road OX1 3PW
Venue Details: Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Dr Audrey Dussutour (University Paul Sabatier (Toulouse))
Organising department: Department of Zoology
Organisers: Dr Rob Salguero-Gómez (University of Oxford), Professor Aziz Aboobaker (Dept Zoology, University of Oxford)
Part of: the zoology lectures 2017/18
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editor: Esme Taylor