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Schulz-Mirbach, Tanja; Ladich, Friedrich; Mittone, Alberto; Olbinado, Margie; Bravin, Alberto; Maiditsch, Isabelle P.; Melzer, Roland R.; Krysl, Petr and Hess, Martin (2020): Auditory chain reaction: Effects of sound pressure and particle motion on auditory structures in fishes.
In: PLOS One 15(3), e0230578 [PDF, 7MB]


Despite the diversity in fish auditory structures, it remains elusive how otolith morphology and swim bladder-inner ear (= otophysic) connections affect otolith motion and inner ear stimulation. A recent study visualized sound-induced otolith motion;but tank acoustics revealed a complex mixture of sound pressure and particle motion. To separate sound pressure and sound-induced particle motion, we constructed a transparent standing wave tubelike tank equipped with an inertial shaker at each end while using X-ray phase contrast imaging. Driving the shakers in phase resulted in maximised sound pressure at the tank centre, whereas particle motion was maximised when shakers were driven out of phase (180 degrees). We studied the effects of two types of otophysic connections-i.e. the Weberian apparatus (Carassius auratus) and anterior swim bladder extensions contacting the inner ears (Etroplus canarensis)-on otolith motion when fish were subjected to a 200 Hz stimulus. Saccular otolith motion was more pronounced when the swim bladder walls oscillated under the maximised sound pressure condition. The otolith motion patterns mainly matched the orientation patterns of ciliary bundles on the sensory epithelia. Our setup enabled the characterization of the interplay between the auditory structures and provided first experimental evidence of how different types of otophysic connections affect otolith motion.

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