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W. Sorensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
and pheromone function.
I am particularly interested in the sense of smell and the fundamental
roles it plays in the lives of many vertebrates, particularly fishes.
Although often neglected by humans, the olfactory sense is usually
the most important sensory modality in animals. It is notable for
it extreme sensitivity, ability to specifically discern a large variety
of chemical odorants, and dramatic effects on animal behavior. How
this is accomplished is poorly understood.
Fish present an excellent opportunity for deciphering the neural basis
of olfactory function because of their relative simplicity. We have
discovered that goldfish release five hormonally-derived sex pheromones
making it one of the best understood vertebrate models for deciphering
the neural basis of pheromone recognition and its relationship to
an animal's internal physiological state. Other studies of the sea
lamprey have shown that this ancient creature, whose olfactory organ
is larger than its brain, is even more specialized. We use both species
to address questions about neural coding of pheromonal information,
endocrine modulation of responsiveness to these cues, the biochemical
complexity of pheromones, and their behavioral function. Effort is
also being placed on applying this knowledge to fisheries management.
We employ multi- and single-unit recording from various levels of
the olfactory system, biochemical analysis (radio-immunoassay and
high performance liquid chromatography), in vitro binding assays,
and behavioral analysis.
|| Rolen SH, Sorensen PW, Mattson D, Caprio J
Polyamines as olfactory stimuli in the goldfish Carassius auratus.
J Exp Biol. 2003 May;206(Pt 10):1683-96
|| Schoenfuss HL, Levitt JT, Van der Kraak G, Sorensen PW
Ten-week exposure to treated sewage discharge has relatively minor, variable effects on reproductive behavior and sperm production in goldfish.
Environ Toxicol Chem. 2002 Oct;21(10):2185-90
|| Poling KR, Fraser EJ, Sorensen PW.
The three steroidal components of the goldfish preovulatory pheromone
signal evoke different behaviors in males.
Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 2001 Jun;129(2-3):645-51
||Speca DJ, Lin DM, Sorensen PW, Isacoff EY, Ngai J, Dittman
Functional identification of a goldfish odorant receptor.
||Hansen A, Zippel HP, Sorensen PW, Caprio J
Ultrastructure of the olfactory epithelium in intact, axotomized,
and bulbectomized goldfish, Carassius auratus.
Res Tech 1999 May 15-Jun 1;45(4-5):325-38
||Hanson LR, Sorensen PW, Cohen Y
Sex pheromones and amino acids evoke distinctly different spatial
patterns of electrical activity in the goldfish olfactory bulb.
N Y Acad Sci 1998 Nov 30;855:521-4