Phylogeny of REM and NREM Sleep States- Specific Goals

Phylogeny of Sleep Project
Specific Goals

1. Develop a Web-accessible comparative database on mammalian sleep: A major outcome of our research will be the production of a large-scale comparative database containing measures of REM and NREM, as well as relevant physiological, neuroanatomical, ecological and life history variables. The databases will be made freely available for others to use via a dedicated WWW site, with data format and protocols implemented in accordance with the open archives initiative ( Our database architecture will enable link-up with other bioinformatic resources such as the Escience grid in Britain, databases and archives, easy manipulation and harvesting via metadata elements and submission of new data with continuous updating of online databases.

2. Investigate allometric trends, quantify phylogenetic signal and identify confounding variables: With the partial exception of Elgar et al., previous comparative analyses of sleep neglected to adequately control for the potential confounding effects of both body size and phylogenetic propinquity. We will begin our analysis with a series of comparative investigations designed to investigate the allometric scaling of sleep quotas and grade shifts across relevant phylogenetic groups. We will then address basic questions such as: What are the major trends in REM vs. NREM sleep evolution in mammals? Are sleep quotas (percent of total sleep time spent in a particular sleep state such as REM or slow wave sleep) and related characteristics phylogenetically clustered in particular taxa? Do traits correlated with active (REM) sleep have different functions than those correlated with quiet (NREM) sleep? How do REM and NREM sleep parameters scale with body mass (allometry) within and between the major mammalian lineages? As part of our data assessment protocol, we will investigate how different experimental conditions affect variation in sleep values obtained in the laboratory.

3. Test a priori hypotheses for the evolution of active/REM and quiet non-REM Sleep: The ultimate goal of our research is to understand the factors that account for variation in REM and NREM measures across species.

Resources for the Phylogeny of Sleep Research

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine