The application of spectral analysis techniques to study the nervous modulation of the vertebrate heart have given interesting results in clinical studies although nearly nothing is known in lower vertebrates. A program to compute this heart rate variability is described in detail and preliminary results are shown. Data is first statistically qualified and fragmented in smaller segments, each being further processed through linear trend removal and normalization before the application of the Fast Fourier Transform algorithm to estimate the interval spectrum. All consecutive periodograms are averaged and the interval spectrum plotted and saved. © 1994 Oxford University Press.