Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sleep-deprived bees have difficulty relearning

25.10.2012
Sleep deprivation affects memory formation in bees

Everyone feels refreshed after a good night's sleep, but sleep does more than just rejuvenate, it can also consolidate memories. 'The rapid eye movement form of sleep and slow wave sleep are involved in cognitive forms of memory such as learning motor skills and consciously accessible memory', explains Randolf Menzel from the Freie Universtät Berlin, Germany.

According to Menzel, the concept that something during sleep reactivates a memory for consolidation is a basic theory in sleep research. However, the human brain is far too complex to begin dissecting the intricate neurocircuits that underpin our memories, which is why Menzel has spent the last four decades working with honey bees: they are easy to train, well motivated and it is possible to identify the miniaturised circuits that control specific behaviours in their tiny brains.

Intrigued by the role of sleep in memory consolidation and knowing that a bee is sleeping well when its antennae are relaxed and collapsed down, Menzel decided to focus on the role of sleep in one key memory characteristic: relearning. They publish their discovery that sleep derivation prevents bees from altering well-established memories in The Journal of Experimental Biology ay http://jeb.biologists.org.

The challenge that Menzel set the bees was to learn a new route home after being displaced from a familiar path. He and his colleague Lisa Beyaert provided a hive with a well-stocked feeder and trained the bees to visit the feeder and return home fully laden. Then, when the duo were convinced that the bees had memorized the routine, they cunningly intercepted the bees at the feeder and transported them to a new location before releasing the insects to find their way home. According to Menzel, foragers learn the general lay of the land as novices before specialising in a few well-travelled routes later in their careers. He explains that the displaced bees had to rely on their earlier experiences to learn their new way home. How would loss of sleep affect the bee's ability to learn the new route? To determine this, Menzel and Beyeart first had to check that the bees could learn the new route and that sleep deprivation hadn't made them too tired or altered their motivation to forage.

Teaming up with electrical engineer Uwe Greggers, Menzel kitted the bees out with tiny RADAR transponders; the RADAR technology was particularly demanding to operate. Tracking the insects' progress as they tried to learn the alternative route home, Menzel and his colleagues saw that by the second run home, the displaced bees had learned the new route. And when the trio disturbed the insects' sleep during the night before the initial displacement by shaking them awake every 5 minutes, they found that the bees were unfazed. In fact they didn't seem to need sleep to maintain their foraging energy levels and the foragers that were deprived of sleep before the first displacement run had no problems learning the new route home.

However, when the team disrupted the bees' sleep after they had allowed the bees a single run along the new displaced route, the lack of sleep played havoc with their memories on the following day. Fewer than half of the sleep-deprived foragers made it home successfully, and those that did took more than twice as long as bees that had enjoyed an uninterrupted night's sleep.

Sleep deprivation had dramatically affected the bees' ability to alter a well-established memory and the team is now keen to see whether they can identify characteristic activity patterns in the slumbering insects' brains that could represent memory formation.


IF REPORTING ON THIS STORY, PLEASE MENTION The Journal of Experimental Biology AS THE SOURCE AND, IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A LINK TO: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/215/22/3981.abstract

REFERENCE: Beyaert, L., Greggers, U. and Menzel, R. (2012). Honeybees consolidate navigation memory during sleep. J. Exp. Biol. 215, 3981-3988

This article is posted on this site to give advance access to other authorised media who may wish to report on this story. Full attribution is required, and if reporting online a link to jeb.biologists.com is also required. The story posted here is COPYRIGHTED. Therefore advance permission is required before any and every reproduction of each article in full. PLEASE CONTACT permissions@biologists.com

Kathryn Knight | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biologists.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>