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Evaluation of two minimally invasive techniques for electroencephalogram recording in wild or freely behaving animals


Scriba, M F; Harmening, W M; Mettke-Hofmann, C; Vyssotski, A L; Roulin, A; Wagner, H; Rattenborg, N C (2013). Evaluation of two minimally invasive techniques for electroencephalogram recording in wild or freely behaving animals. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 199(3):183-189.

Abstract

Insight into the function of sleep may be gained by studying animals in the ecological context in which sleep evolved. Until recently, technological constraints prevented electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of animals sleeping in the wild. However, the recent development of a small recorder (Neurologger 2) that animals can carry on their head permitted the first recordings of sleep in nature. To facilitate sleep studies in the field and to improve the welfare of experimental animals, herein, we test the feasibility of using minimally invasive surface and subcutaneous electrodes to record the EEG in barn owls. The EEG and behaviour of four adult owls in captivity and of four chicks in a nest box in the field were recorded. We scored a 24-h period for each adult bird for wakefulness, slow-wave sleep (SWS), and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep using 4 s epochs. Although the quality and stability of the EEG signals recorded via subcutaneous electrodes were higher when compared to surface electrodes, the owls’ state was readily identifiable using either electrode type. On average, the four adult owls spent 13.28 h awake, 9.64 h in SWS, and 1.05 h in REM sleep. We demonstrate that minimally invasive methods can be used to measure EEG-defined wakefulness, SWS, and REM sleep in owls and probably other animals.

Abstract

Insight into the function of sleep may be gained by studying animals in the ecological context in which sleep evolved. Until recently, technological constraints prevented electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of animals sleeping in the wild. However, the recent development of a small recorder (Neurologger 2) that animals can carry on their head permitted the first recordings of sleep in nature. To facilitate sleep studies in the field and to improve the welfare of experimental animals, herein, we test the feasibility of using minimally invasive surface and subcutaneous electrodes to record the EEG in barn owls. The EEG and behaviour of four adult owls in captivity and of four chicks in a nest box in the field were recorded. We scored a 24-h period for each adult bird for wakefulness, slow-wave sleep (SWS), and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep using 4 s epochs. Although the quality and stability of the EEG signals recorded via subcutaneous electrodes were higher when compared to surface electrodes, the owls’ state was readily identifiable using either electrode type. On average, the four adult owls spent 13.28 h awake, 9.64 h in SWS, and 1.05 h in REM sleep. We demonstrate that minimally invasive methods can be used to measure EEG-defined wakefulness, SWS, and REM sleep in owls and probably other animals.

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6 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Neuroinformatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:07 Mar 2013 09:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:36
Publisher:Springer
Number of Pages:7
ISSN:0340-7594
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-012-0779-1
PubMed ID:23207908

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