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Context-dependent calcium dynamics in the C. elegans nervous system


Organisms must adapt their behavior to different environmental contexts. A smart behavior in one environment may be a very dumb behavior in another. Many different parts of the nervous system exhibit context-dependent behavior. Sensory neurons adapt their response properties to efficiently encode the organism's environment. Sensorimotor neurons consider both the stimulus history and the recent history of organismal actions when deciding what motor commands to issue. Both of these concepts are studied using large-scale calcium imaging in the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system. State-space models are used to understand how C. elegans sensory neurons change their response properties as a function of recent stimulus history. A variety of models are used to study the combined effects of recent stimulus history and recent motor activity on C. elegans motor command neurons.

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