The compact nervous system of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans makes it a powerful playground to study how neural dynamics constrained by neuroanatomy generate neural function and behavior. The ability to record neural activity from the whole brain simultaneously in this worm has opened several research avenues and is providing insights into brain-wide neural coding of locomotion, sleep, and other behaviors. We review these findings and the development of new methods, including new microscopes, new genetic tools, and new modeling approaches. We conclude with a discussion of the role of theory in interpreting or driving new experiments in C. elegans and potential paths forward.
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