Automated electroretinography

The recording of electrophysiological signals from eyes known as electroretinography (ERG) should be understood as a foundational technique in visual ecology. The physiological qualities it can assess such as such as spectral sensitivity and temporal acuity influence everything in an animal’s ecology from mate choice to movement speed. But when I was hired to build the Speiser lab ERG system, I found that existing ERG techniques were often time- and labor-intensive and required expertise beyond that necessary for a good electrophysiological preparation.

Instead of recapitulating existing systems, I built an automated ERG system capable of presenting stimuli at a high degree of accuracy to both wavelength and photon number while recording from an eye and notating the recording. To increase efficiency further, I developed a new formula for normalizing eye responses that was able to capture equivalent information to methods of sensitivity conversion requiring many more steps of data collection. In the end, we were able to develop a technique that accurately assessed spectral sensitivity in 8 min, 30 sec.

Our techniques and system are in press in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, and I’ll update this page with a permanent link to that article soon. In the meantime (and for all those who don’t subscribe to JCPA), you can find an unformatted copy of our accepted manuscript below. Along with that, below you’ll find all of the software components necessary to recapitulate our automated ERG system. If you’d like a consultation on building a similar system, please contact me.


System files