Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Calcium Imaging, Diffuse Chemosensory System, Odorants, Olfactory Sensory Neurons, Olfactory subsystem, Polyamines


Barbara Zielinski




Chemosensory systems play an important role in any organism collecting and processing information to regulate behaviours such as feeding, homing, avoidance and reproduction. In this thesis, I investigated the cells within the olfactory system and the diffuse chemosensory system of the sea lamprey. Calcium imaging of olfactory epithelial cellular responses to the polyamine odorants spermine and spermidine showed that separate cells responded to these odorants. The secondary goal of this thesis was focused on the loading of cells in the accessory olfactory organ (AOO) with neural activity indicators to examine the odorant response profiles of these cells. Multiple in vivo and electroporation dye loading strategies were attempted, with no successful loading of these cells. Investigating the AOO is still critical as it may provide insight into the importance of having more than one olfactory pathway. The third goal of this study was to investigate the location of nerve fibers on dermal papillae that contain solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs) of the diffuse chemosensory system. The findings show that nerve fibres entered the dermal papillae and, in many cases, were seen adjacent to SCCs in oral larval papillae and in nasal, gill and fin papillae following metamorphosis and in adults. This finding indicates that SCCs communicate with nerve fibers located in the cutaneous dermal papillae and that these fibers may be involved in processing sensory information that stimulates specific behavioural responses. Overall, this thesis examines the function of specific cells associated with lamprey chemosensory systems which may provide insight to appropriate behavioural responses necessary for survival and reproduction.