Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In this thesis we investigate neural processing in turtle visual cortex. To this end, we characterize the nature of both spontaneous, ongoing neural activity as well as activity evoked by visual stimulation. Data are collected from whole brain eye-attached preparations, recording with extracellular and intracellular electrodes. We investigate the activity of action potentials as well as the slower local field potential activity.

To investigate response properties, we explore spatial properties of receptive fields, temporal properties of spontaneous and evoked activity, response adaptation, and correlations between different types of activity as well as between activity recorded in different regions.

To study the roles of rhythmic oscillations in the local field potential, we examine temporal and spectral properties of oscillations. We look at the distributions of durations of oscillatory bursts as well as the distributions of the dominant frequencies within those oscillations. We also investigate the variability of these features and produce similar results in a model simulation.

Lastly, we investigate criticality and the statistics of neural activity over a range of scales in the turtle visual cortex. We use neuronal avalanches to reveal scale-free cortical dynamics and power-law statistics, which have been hypothesized to optimize information processing.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ralf Wessel

Committee Members

Anders Carlsson, Woodrow Shew, James Buckley, Erik Henriksen


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