Sheryl Coombs

Dr. Sheryl Coombs

Ph. D., University of Hawaii, Zoology      

Research: Sensory biology   

Research and Teaching Page

Research Interests:


Sensory biology and neuroethology with a primary focus on fish behavior and non-visual sensory systems. Neurophysiological, behavioral, anatomical and computer modeling techniques are applied to questions of how fish behavior is guided by acoustic and hydrodynamic cues. Current research efforts focus on how fish use their auditory and lateral line systems to acquire spatial information about the geometric configuration of their surroundings and to find discrete spatial goals -- both stationary (e.g., obstacles) and vibratory (e.g., prey).


Selected Publications:

Tan, D.T., Patton, P. and coombs, S. 2011. Do blind cavefish have behavioral specializations for active flow sensing? J. comp. Physiol A DOI 10.1007/s00359-011-0637-6

Coombs, S, Fay, RR and Elephfandt, A. 2010. Dipole source encoding and tracking by the goldfish auditory system. J. Exp. Biol. 213: 3536-3547.

Patton, P, Windsor, S and Coombs, S. 2010. Active wall-following by Mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) J. Comp Physiol A 11: 853-857.

van Trump, WJV, Coombs, S, Duncan, K and McHenry, MJ. 2010. Gentamicin is ototoxic to all hair cells in the fish lateral line. Hear Res 261: 42-50.

Braun, CB and Coombs, S. 2010. Vibratory sources as compound stimuli for the octavolateralis systems: dissection of specific stimulation channels using multiple behavioral approaches. J. Exp. Psychol: Animal Behavior Processes 36: 243-257.

Coombs, S. and P. Patton. 2009. Lateral line stimulation patterns and prey orienting behaviors of mottled sculpin. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 195(3): 279. DOI: 10.1007/s00359-008-0405-4

Sharma, S., S. Coombs, P. Patton and T. Burt de Perera 2009. The function of wall-following behaviors in the Mexican blind cavefish and a sighted relative, the Mexican tetra (Astyanax sp.). Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 185(3): 225. DOI: 10.1007/s00359-008-0400-9

Rapo, M.A., H. Jiang, M.A. Grosenbaugh and S. Coombs. 2009. Using computational fluid dynamics to calculate the stimulus to the lateral line of a fish in still water. Journal of Experimental Biology 212: 1494-1505. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.026732

McConney, M.E., N. Chen, D. Lu, H.A. Hu, S. Coombs, C. Liu and V.V. Tsukruk. 2008. Biologically ispired design of hydrogel-capped hair sensors for enhanced underwater flow detection. Soft Matter DOI: 10.1039/b808839j.

Coombs, S. 2008. Anthropogenic sound sources and the lateral line system. Bioacoustics 17: 65-69.

Coombs, S., E. Anderson, C. Braun, and M. Grosenbaugh. 2007. The hydrodynamic footprint of a benthic, sedentary fish in unidirectional flow. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122: 1227-1237.

Yang, Y., J. Chen, J. Engel, S. Pandya, N. Chen, C. Tucker, S. Coombs, D. Jones, and C. Liu. 2006. Distant touch hydrodynamic imaging with an artificial lateral line. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0609274103

Coombs, S. and G.D. Grosmann. 2006. Mechanosensory-based orienting behaviors in fluvial and lacustrine populations of mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi). Mar. Freshwater Behav. Physiol.