Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Anne Murdaugh

Committee Member

Dr. Jay Pieczynski

Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Fuse


Identifying the function of different locomotive genes in model organisms is crucial for genetics research. One popular approach is to analyze the behavior and motion of animals in hope of understanding subtle genetic or neural mechanisms. The nematode C. elegans has emerged as an increasingly popular organism for the study of sensory systems, specifically photo transduction, due to the fact it is still photosensitive without having eyes. Light stimulus has been shown to elicit evasive locomotive behavior in C. elegans, however little has been done to quantify this movement. Modeling the worm motion as a static sine wave, we used the parameters of wavelength, amplitude, and worm speed to differentiating between stimulated and non-stimulated worm behavior. C. elegans have four main modes of locomotion: straight, shallow turn, omega turn, and reversal. These three parameters were determined across all four locomotive modes for two worms. We found that worm speed is a promising parameter for differentiating between locomotive modes, and between unstimulated and photo-evasive locomotion. Due to high error, the amplitude and wavelength were inconclusive locomotive parameters.

Rights Holder

Ian Seddon