Recording spikes from a large fraction of the ganglion cells in a retinal patch.
To understand a neural circuit completely requires simultaneous recording from most of the neurons in that circuit. Here we report recording and spike sorting techniques that enable us to record from all or nearly all of the ganglion cells in a patch of the retina. With a dense multi-electrode array, each ganglion cell produces a unique pattern of activity on many electrodes when it fires an action potential. Signals from all of the electrodes are combined with an iterative spike sorting algorithm to resolve ambiguities arising from overlapping spike waveforms. We verify that we are recording from a large fraction of ganglion cells over the array by labeling the ganglion cells with a retrogradely transported dye and by comparing the number of labeled and recorded cells. Using these methods, we show that about 60 receptive fields of ganglion cells cover each point in visual space in the salamander, consistent with anatomical findings.