Volume 10 Supplement 1
The activity of retinal ganglion cell ensembles in the turtle retina encode velocity of moving objects
© Paz and Kretzberg; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Published: 13 July 2009
In a natural environment, detection and estimation of object motion features are crucial for a correct behavior. The brain relies on the activity of retinal ganglion cells (RGC) as the only source of visual information to estimate moving stimuli. We analysed simultaneously recorded responses of RGC of isolated turtle retinas to a moving stimulus. The stimulus consisted of a pattern of squares that moved with a constant velocity for 500 ms and then changed abruptly to one of nine possible velocities in a pseudo-random fashion as described in . Spike-cost based metrics  were applied to the responses of single RGC to test the relevance of spike rate and spike timing precision in the encoding of velocity. Furthermore, an extension of the method that considers the simultaneous activity of several neurons  was used to test if velocity discrimination improves if their spike responses are combined and if individual spikes are assigned to individual neurons.
We thank Dr. Martin Greschner and Dr. Andreas Thiel for providing the experimental data and the German Research Foundation (DFG) for financial support (research unit FOR-701 and graduate school "Neurosensory Science and Systems").
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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.