Here is my drafted abstract for my poster, I can’t wait to read about everyone’s research and results!
Male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during mating, but it is not known how inhaling the helium affects the USVs besides changing the frequency or whether changes in USVs are accompanied by changes in mating behaviors. It is also unknown whether the animal gradually corrects the vocal and behavioral changes after continuously experiencing helium, such as trying to lower the pitch of their voice. Through placing mice in an air-filled or heliox-filled chamber and recording their vocalizations and behavior, this study tests the hypotheses that 1) behavior changes in helium, 2) USVs get shorter and quieter, and 3) the mice show evidence of learning by correcting changes in their USVs. We predict that while inhaling helium, males will display lower proportions of sexually aggressive mating behaviors. Additionally, we predict that the USVs produced during helium sessions will have higher frequencies, lower amplitudes, and have fewer syllables in one bout of vocalizing. Finally, with our current data we do not expect to find evidence of the mice correcting the vocal and behavioral changes. Future studies will continue to research this third hypothesis, which if supported, would have broader implications for the neurobiology behind differentiation of self-produced sounds from external environmental sounds.