Matthias Laska

Matthias Laska
Linköping University | LiU · Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM)

Prof. Dr.
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About

161
Publications
34,172
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4,877
Citations
Citations since 2016
29 Research Items
1591 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
Introduction
Matthias Laska currently works at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University, Sweden. Matthias does research in Zoology, Sensory Physiology and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
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Tannins are a chemical defense mechanism of plants consumed by herbivores. Variations in salivary physicochemical characteristics such as pH, total protein concentration (TP), and presence of proline-rich proteins (PRPs) in animals have been reported as a mechanism to protect the oral cavity when consuming food with variations in pH and tannins. Va...
Article
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We assessed two aspects of numerical cognition in a group of nine captive spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Petri dishes with varying amounts of food were used to assess relative quantity discrimination, and boxes fitted with dotted cards were used to assess discrete number discrimination with equally-sized dots and various-sized dots, respectivel...
Article
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There is extensive knowledge about the visual system and the implications of the evolution of trichromatic color vision in howler monkeys (genus Alouatta) related to food selection; however, information about the other sensory systems is limited. In this study we assessed the use of touch, sniffing, and taste in fruit evaluation by 20 adult mantled...
Article
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Taste-induced facial expressions are thought to reflect the hedonic valence of an animal’s gustatory experience. We therefore assessed taste-induced facial responses in six black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) to water, sucrose, caffeine, citric acid and aspartame, representing the taste qualities sweet, bitter, and sour, respectively. We...
Article
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Using a two-bottle choice test of short duration, we determined taste preference thresholds for eight substances tasting sweet to humans in three chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and four black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). We found that the chimpanzees significantly preferred concentrations as low as 100-500 mM galactose, 250 mM sorbitol,...
Article
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The artificial sweetener isomalt is widely used due to its low caloric, non-diabetogenic and non-cariogenic properties. Although the sweetening potency of isomalt has been reported to be lower than that of sucrose, no data on the sensitivity of humans for this polyol are available. Using an up-down, two-alternative forced choice staircase procedure...
Article
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The aim of the present study was to assess the occurrence of spontaneous food preferences in zoo-housed ring-tailed lemurs and to analyze whether these preferences correlate with nutrient composition. Using a two-alternative choice test three female and one male Lemur catta were repeatedly presented with all possible binary combinations of 12 types...
Article
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Howler monkeys (platyrrhini) have evolved routine trichromatic color vision independently from catarrhines, which presents an opportunity to test hypotheses concerning the adaptive value of distinguishing reddish from greenish hues. A longstanding hypothesis posits that trichromacy aids in the efficient detection of reddish‐ripe fruits, which could...
Article
Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution of the sense of smell has rarely been studied in this context. Thus, the aim of our study was to assess if ho...
Article
Recent studies suggest that frugivorous primates might display a preference for the ethanol produced by microbia in overripe, fermenting fruit as an additional source of calories. We, therefore, assessed the taste responsiveness of 8 spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) to the range of ethanol concentrations found in overripe, fermenting fruit (0.05-3...
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It is hypothesized that tool-assisted excavation of plant underground storage organs (USOs) played an adaptive role in hominin evolution and was also once considered a uniquely human behavior. Recent data indicate that savanna chimpanzees also use tools to excavate edible USOs. However, those chimpanzees remain largely unhabituated and we lack dire...
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Digging for underground storage organs of plants has been reported in various populations of wild chimpanzees (Pan trog-lodytes). However, it is unknown so far whether chimpanzees display lateral biases in manual digging as direct observations of this behavior are still lacking. It was therefore the aim of the present study to assess, for the first...
Article
Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are known to strongly rely on chemical signals for social communication. However, little is known about their use of the sense of smell in foraging and food detection. The aim of the present study was therefore to assess whether captive meerkats are able to (1) detect hidden food using olfactory cues alone, (2) discrim...
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In their first days of life, dairy calves in artificial rearing systems often have difficulty using an artificial teat for feeding. We examined the age at which calves are able to stand up voluntarily and suckle as well as their suckling behavior when presented with a plain dry teat versus a dry teat modified with a presumably attractive odor or ta...
Article
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Using a two-bottle choice test of short duration, we determined taste preference thresholds for sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, and maltose in three Western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). Further, we assessed relative preferences for these five saccharides when presented at equimolar concentrations and determined taste preference differe...
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Using operant conditioning procedures, we assessed the olfactory sensitivity of six CD-1 mice and three spider monkeys for mold-associated odorants. We found that with all eight stimuli, the mice detected concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm (parts per million), and with two of them individual animals even detected concentrations as low as 1 ppt (parts...
Article
It is well-established that the odor of mammalian blood is attractive to top predators such as tigers and wolves and aversive to prey species such as mice and rats. Recent studies have shown that the mammalian blood odor component trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal (TED) elicits corresponding behavioral responses in these two groups of mammals. Here we...
Article
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Spider monkeys are interesting to study with regard to hand preferences, as they are one of the few primate species that lack a thumb and, thus, are unable to perform a precision grip. Further, being platyrrhine primates, they also largely lack independent motor control of the digits and, thus, have only limited manual dexterity. It was therefore t...
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Climatic fluctuations have a biogeochemical effect on food availability and quality, resulting in adjustments of the foraging and food selection behavior of animals. Our study aimed to evaluate the influence of seasonal variation on abundance of food resources and its effect on food selection of Xerospermophilus perotensis, an endemic species of gr...
Article
The odor of blood may have both aversive and attractive properties for mammals, depending on the species of the odor donor and the species perceiving the odor. To better understand the informational content of blood odor for a prey species we assessed behavioral responses of male CD-1 mice (n=60) to the odor of blood of same-sex and opposite-sex co...
Article
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Chemosignals are used by predators to localize prey and by prey to avoid predators. These cues vary between species, but the odor of blood seems to be an exception and suggests the presence of an evolutionarily conserved chemosensory cue within the blood odor mixture. A blood odor component, E2D, has been shown to trigger approach responses identic...
Chapter
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Humans are traditionally considered to have a poorly developed sense of smell that is clearly inferior to that of nonhuman animals. This view, however, is mainly based on an interpretation of neuroanatomical and recent genetic findings, and not on physiological or behavioral evidence. An increasing number of studies now suggest that the human sense...
Article
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Primates have been found to differ widely in their taste perception and studies suggest that a co-evolution between plant species bearing a certain taste substance and primate species feeding on these plants may contribute to such between-species differences. Considering that only platyrrhine primates, but not catarrhine or prosimian primates, shar...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm and an automated olfactometer, we investigated the olfactory sensitivity of CD-1 mice for the mammalian blood odor component trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal. We found that two of the animals significantly discriminated concentrations down to 3.0 ppt (parts per trillion) from the solvent, and three animals even successful...
Article
Mammalian prey species are able to detect predator odors and to display appropriate defensive behavior. However, there is only limited knowledge about whether single compounds of predator odors are sufficient to elicit such behavior. Therefore, we assessed if predator-naïve CD-1 mice (n = 60) avoid sulfur-containing compounds that are characteristi...
Article
Primates are now known to possess well-developed olfactory sensitivity and discrimination capacities that can play a substantial role in many aspects of their interaction with conspecifics and the environment. Several studies have demonstrated that olfactory cues may be useful in fruit selection. Here, using a conditioning paradigm, we show that ca...
Chapter
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Ourknowledgeabouttheperceptualworldofhowlermonkeysisunevenly distributed between the five senses. Whereas there is abundant knowledge about the sense of vision in the genus Alouatta, only limited data on the senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch are available. The discovery that howler monkeys are the only genus among the New World primates to...
Article
The present study compared olfactory discrimination learning in CD-1 mice, a widely used outbred strain of mice with that of C57BL/6J mice, one of the most widely used inbred mouse strains. Using an automated olfactometer and a standard operant conditioning procedure, I found that CD-1 mice needed 60 trials to reach learning criterion in an initial...
Article
Aliphatic ketones are widely present in body-borne and food odors of primates. Therefore, we used an operant conditioning paradigm and determined olfactory detection thresholds in four spider monkeys for a homologous series of aliphatic 2-ketones (2-butanone to 2-nonanone) and two of their isomers (3- and 4-heptanone). We found that, with the excep...
Chapter
Full-text available
The view that primates have a poorly developed sense of smell, is mainly based on an interpretation of neuroanatomical and recent genetic findings and not on behavioral or physiological evidence. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge about the anatomy, physiology, genetics, and behavior concerning the sense of smell in nonhuman primates. Me...
Article
Nonhuman primates differ widely in various aspects of their ecology and are thus particularly suitable for studying the mechanisms underlying interspecies differences in taste perception. Therefore, we assessed taste preference thresholds as well as relative preferences for five food-associated sugars in three adult black-and-white ruffed lemurs (V...
Article
Reliable population estimation and species inventories are important for wildlife conservation, but such estimations are often difficult due to unreliable identification of the species in question. Furthermore, for predator conflict resolution, it is essential to be able to reliably identify the predator. This study presents a new method to quantit...
Article
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Only little is known about whether single volatile compounds are as efficient in eliciting behavioral responses in animals as the whole complex mixture of a behaviorally relevant odor. Recent studies analysing the composition of volatiles in mammalian blood, an important prey-associated odor stimulus for predators, found the odorant trans-4,5-epoxy...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of CD-1 mice for a homologous series of aliphatic 2-ketones (2-butanone to 2-nonanone) and several of their isomeric forms was investigated. With all 11 odorants, the animals significantly discriminated concentrations as low as 0.01 ppm (parts per million) from the solvent, and with two odora...
Article
Full-text available
Using a conditioning paradigm, we assessed the olfactory sensitivity of six CD-1 mice (Mus musculus) for six sulfur-containing odorants known to be components of the odors of natural predators of the mouse. With all six odorants, the mice discriminated concentrations <0.1 ppm (parts per million) from the solvent, and with five of the six odorants t...
Article
Using a food-rewarded two-choice instrumental conditioning paradigm, we assessed the ability of Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, to discriminate between 2 sets of structurally related odorants. We found that the animals successfully discriminated between all 12 odor pairs involving members of homologous series of aliphatic 1-alcohols, n-aldehydes,...
Article
Full-text available
Using a food-rewarded two-choice instrumental conditioning paradigm we assessed the ability of South African fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus, to discriminate between 12 enantiomeric odor pairs. The results demonstrate that the fur seals as a group were able to discriminate between the optical isomers of carvone, dihydrocarvone, dihydrocarveol, me...
Article
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Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of CD-1 mice for a homologous series of aliphatic n-carboxylic acids (ethanoic acid to n-octanoic acid) and several of their isomeric forms was investigated. With all 14 odorants, the animals significantly discriminated concentrations as low as 0.03 ppm (parts per million) from the solvent, a...
Article
Recent studies have shown that certain aromatic aldehydes are ligands for olfactory receptors expressed in mammalian sperm cells and induce sperm chemotaxis. Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of five CD-1 mice for seven aromatic aldehydes was investigated. With all seven stimuli, the mice discriminated concentrations as low a...
Article
The present study demonstrates that Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, can successfully be trained to cooperate in an olfactory discrimination test based on a food-rewarded two-alternative instrumental conditioning procedure. The animals learned the basic principle of the test within only 60 trials and readily mastered intramodal stimulus transfer t...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of five CD-1 mice for the L- and D-forms of cysteine, methionine, and proline was investigated. With all six stimuli, the animals discriminated concentrations ≤ 0.1 ppm (parts per million) from the odorless solvent, and with three of the six stimuli the best-scoring animals were even able to...
Article
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Using a longitudinal study design, two strains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) model mice, one expressing β-amyloid plaques and one expressing Tau protein-associated neurofibrillary tangles were assessed for olfactory and visuospatial learning and memory and their performance compared to that of age-matched controls. No significant difference between A...
Article
Using a three-alternative forced-choice ascending staircase procedure, we determined olfactory detection thresholds in 20 human subjects for seven aromatic aldehydes and compared them to those of four spider monkeys tested in parallel using an operant conditioning paradigm. With all seven odorants, both species detected concentrations <1 ppm, and w...
Article
Olfaction may play an important role in regulating bird behavior, and has been suggested to be involved in feather-pecking. We investigated possible differences in the body odors of red junglefowl females by using an automated olfactometer which assessed the ability of trained mice to discriminate between the odors of uropygial gland secretions (th...
Article
Using a food-rewarded, two-choice, instrumental conditioning paradigm we assessed the ability of South African fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus, to discriminate between members of five chemical classes of aliphatic odorants presumed to differ in their abundance in the marine chemical environment. We found that the fur seals were able to distinguis...
Article
The aim of the present study was to determine the magnitude of the difference in concentration between olfactory detection and recognition thresholds of aliphatic aldehydes. To this end, we first determined olfactory detection thresholds for n-butanal, n-pentanal, n-hexanal, n-heptanal, and n-octanal in a group of 16 subjects and then assessed thei...
Article
Recent studies have shown that sperm chemotaxis critically involves the human olfactory receptor OR1D2, which is activated by the aromatic aldehyde bourgeonal. Given that both natural and sexual selection may act upon the expression of receptors, we hypothesized that human males are more sensitive than human females for bourgeonal. Using a 3-altern...
Article
The olfactory properties of 6 amino acids were assessed in 20 human subjects using psychophysical tests of detectability, discriminability, and chemesthesis. Mean olfactory detection thresholds were found to be 10 μM for D-methionine, 80 μM for L-methionine, 200 μM for L-cysteine, 220 μM for D-cysteine, 75 mM for D-proline, and 100 mM for L-proline...
Article
The perceived quality of a binary mixture will, as a rule of thumb, be dominated by the quality of the stronger unmixed component. On the other hand, there are mechanisms that, in theory, suggest that this will not always be true; one example being receptor antagonism. Undecanal has been indicated as an antagonist for bourgeonal-sensitive receptors...
Article
Gustatory responsiveness of six adult squirrel monkeys, four spider monkeys, and five pigtail macaques to six bitter tastants was assessed in two-bottle preference tests of brief duration (2min). Animals were given the choice between a 30-mM sucrose solution and defined concentrations of a bitter tastant dissolved in a 30-mM sucrose solution. With...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of four CD-1 mice for six alkylpyrazines was investigated. With all six stimuli, the animals discriminated concentrations <or=0.1 ppm (parts per million) from the odorless solvent, and with three of the six stimuli the animals were even able to detect concentrations <or=0.1 ppb (parts per bil...
Article
Full-text available
We aimed to assess spontaneous food preferences in captive white-handed gibbons and to analyze whether they correlate with nutrient composition. Via a 2-alternative choice test, we repeatedly presented 3 male Hylobates lar with all possible binary combinations of 10 types of food that are part of their diet in captivity and found the following rank...
Article
Using an operant conditioning paradigm we tested the ability of CD-1 mice to discriminate between 25 odorants comprising members of five homologous series of aliphatic odorants (C4-C8) presented at a gas phase concentration of 1 ppm. We found (a) that all mice significantly discriminated between all 50 stimulus pairs that involved odorants sharing...
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine taste difference thresholds for monosodium glutamate (MSG) and sodium chloride (NaCl) in pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina) and spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Using a two-bottle preference test of brief duration, three animals of each species were presented with four different reference concentration...
Article
The present study demonstrates that South African fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus, can successfully be trained to discriminate between objects on the basis of odor cues. Using a task based on a food-rewarded two-choice discrimination of simultaneously presented odor stimuli the animals acquired the basic operant conditioning paradigm within 480 t...
Article
Full-text available
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of four spider monkeys, three squirrel monkeys and three pigtail macaques to four thiols and two indols, substances characteristic of putrefaction processes and faecal odours, was assessed. With all odorants, the animals significantly discriminated concentrations below 1 p.p.m. (part per mill...
Article
Using an operant conditioning paradigm, we tested the ability of CD-1 mice to discriminate between members of a homologous series of aliphatic aldehydes presented at four different concentrations. We found that the mice were clearly capable of discriminating between all odorant pairs when stimuli were presented at concentrations of 1, 0.01, and 0.0...
Article
Full-text available
During 250 h of observation, a total of 20 episodes of self-anointing, that is, the application of scent-bearing material onto the body, were recorded in a group of free-ranging Mexican spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). The animals used the leaves of three species of plants (Brongniartia alamosana, Fabaceae; Cecropia obtusifolia, Cecropiaceae; and...
Article
In order to optimize foraging efficiency and avoid toxicosis, animals must be able to detect, discriminate, and learn about the predictive signals of potential food. Primates are typically regarded as animals that rely mainly on their highly developed visual systems, and little is known about the role that the other senses may play in food selectio...
Article
With use of a conditioning paradigm, the ability of eight CD-1 mice to distinguish between 15 enantiomeric odor pairs was investigated. The results demonstrate a) that CD-1 mice are capable of discriminating between all odor pairs tested, b) that the enantiomeric odor pairs clearly differed in their degree of discriminability and thus in their perc...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of six CD-1 mice for the enantiomers of carvone and of limonene as well as for their racemic mixtures was investigated. With all six stimuli, the animals significantly discriminated concentrations <or=0.1 ppm (parts per million) from the odorless solvent, and with five of the six stimuli, the...
Article
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of five spider monkeys, three squirrel monkeys, and three pigtail macaques for six acyclic monoterpene alcohols that differ markedly in their frequency of occurrence in plant odors was assessed. The results showed that: (1) all three primate species have a well-developed olfactory sensitivity...
Article
Full-text available
In humans, the volatile C19-steroids androsta-4,16-dien-3-one (AND) and estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol (EST) have been shown to modulate autonomic nervous system responses, and to cause hypothalamic activation in a gender-specific manner. Using two conditioning paradigms, the authors here show that pigtail macaques and squirrel monkeys of both sex...