Transient pairwise synchronization of locust antennal lobe (AL) projection neurons (PNs) occurs during odor responses. In a Hodgkin-Huxley-type model of the AL, interactions between excitatory PNs and inhibitory local neurons (LNs) created coherent network oscillations during odor stimulation. GABAergic interconnections between LNs led to competition among them such that different groups of LNs oscillated with periodic Ca(2+) spikes during different 50-250 ms temporal epochs, similar to those recorded in vivo. During these epochs, LN-evoked IPSPs caused phase-locked, population oscillations in sets of postsynaptic PNs. The model shows how alternations of the inhibitory drive can temporally encode sensory information in networks of neurons without precisely tuned intrinsic oscillatory properties.