Michaela Meyer

Department of Biology
The University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Phone: (301) 405-6903
E-mail: meyerm@wam.umd.edu

Curriculum Vitae


Education
Ph.D. Candidate 1999 - Present Dr. Arthur N. Popper, Advisor, University of Maryland, CP, Department of Biology
Dr. Richard R. Fay, Coadvisor
M.S. (German Diplom) 1999 University of Bonn, Germany, Department of Zoology, Specialty: Neurophysiology. Development of an in vitro whole brain preparation of the goldfish, Carassius auratus, for the electrophysiological analysis of the lateral line pathway.
Biological Laboratory Assistant Diploma 1992 Diploma as a state-certified biological laboratory assistant at the Rheinische Akademie e.V. Köln, Cologne, Germany

Current Research Interests

Ph.D. thesis project

Hearing in fish has been studied for at least 100 years mainly using teleosts, an advanced group of bony fish.With my PhD project I want to contribute to the understanding of the origin of the evolution of hearing in fish (and other vertebrates) by investigating the peripheral physiology and hearing structures in primitive fish (please see "Hearing in Primitive Fish").

I am mainly using sturgeon of the genus Acipenser for my research studies first because of their phylogenetic position within the systematics of vertebrates and second because they comprise the largest number of species among other primitive groups of bony fish. I am recording from the auditory nerve in sturgeon to determine the physiological response characteristics and spontaneous activity of eighth nerve fibers using two ways of stimulation: a loudspeaker under water and a three-dimensional shaker system (in collaboration with Dr. R. Fay). Specific goals are to determine the nature and extent of frequency filtering in primary afferents and to compare them with frequency filters in teleosts (e.g. goldfish and toadfish) and to determine their directional sensitivity. I am investigating peripheral hearing structures in primitive fish using mainly Scanning Electron Microscopy.

The teleost auditory system is capable of performing complex signal analysis comparable to those performed by mammals. In spite of the diversity in peripheral and central auditory structures of vertebrates, hearing systems may have evolved to perform certain basic tasks (e.g. sound source segregation, localization, and frequency analysis, Fay and Popper 2000). As a consequence, major features of vertebrate hearing are likely to have evolved very early in vertebrate history – a hypothesis that is tested in this project.

Other research interests

I am generally interested in peripheral and central encoding mechanisms of sound or other sensory information in fish. During my masters thesis I developed an isolated whole brain preparation of the goldfish that is suited to investigate the physiology and the neuroanatomy of the lateral line pathway. During my time as a graduate student at the Univ. of Maryland, I developed a second in vitro preparation using the sleeper goby for the investigation of the auditory pathway.


Selected Publications
Publications and Conference presentations

Meyer M. (1999) An isolated whole brain preparation of the goldfish, Carassius auratus, for the electrophysiological analysis of sensory pathways. Masters Thesis accomplished at the Univ. of Bonn, Germany (advisor: Horst Bleckmann).

Meyer M., Plachta D.T.T., Bleckmann H. (2001) An in vitro whole brain preparation of
the goldfish, Carassius auratus, for the electrophysiological analysis of sensory
pathways. Abst. Assn. Res. Otolaryngol., Vol. 24, pp. 193-194.

Meyer M., Plachta D.T.T., Popper A.N., Bleckmann H. (2002) In vitro whole brain preparation of fish for the electrophysiological analysis of sensory pathways. Bioacoustics, Vol. 12, pp. 323-339.

Meyer M., Popper A.N. (2002) Hearing in “primitive” fish: brainstem responses to
pure tone stimuli in the lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens. Abst. Assn. Res. Otolaryngol., Vol. 25, pp. 11-12.

Meyer M., Plachta D.T.T., Popper A.N. (2003) When a “primitive” fish listens to tones: encoding of sound in the auditory periphery of the shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum. Abst. Assn. Res. Otolaryngol., Vol. 26, pp.47-48.

Meyer M., Popper A.N., Fay R.R. (2004) Frequency tuning and directional preference in lagenar nerve fibers of the goldfish, Carassius auratus, Abst. Assn. Res. Otolaryngol., Vol. 27, p. 325.

Meyer M., Fay R.R., Popper A.N. (2005) What can an ancient fish tell us about the evolution of directional hearing and frequency selectivity? Abst. Assn. Res. Otolaryngol., Vol. 28, p. 26.


Talks

Meyer M., Popper A.N. (Jan. 2003) Hearing in sturgeon, insights into the origins of vertebrate audition. Department of Zoology/Animal Physiology, RWTH Aachen, Germany.

Meyer M., Popper A.N. (May 2003) Hearing in sturgeon, insights into the origins of vertebrate audition. Parmly hearing institute, Loyola Univ. Chicago.

Meyer M. Popper A.N. (July 2003) When a “primitive” fish listens to tones: encoding of sound in the auditory periphery of the shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum. 1st International Conference on Acoustic Communication by Animals. University of Maryland, CP.

Meyer M. (May 2004) Hearing in fish, insights into the evolution of vertebrate audition. Zoological colloquium, Institute of Zoology, Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universitaet Bonn, Germany.




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