Behavioral Research Blog

How to measure complex exploratory behavior in larval zebrafish

Posted by Guest blogger on Mar 22, 2016

The Zebrafish Multi-Chambered Exploratory Test (ZEMCET)

Today we have another guest writing for us, or actually two. I met Frank Scalzo (Bard College, New York) at last year's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago and I was very curious to find out more about their research using multi-chambered set-ups for their zebrafish larvae. Frank M. Scalzo and his colleague Brandon Chen were kind enough to share their insights in this blog post. Enjoy!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, zebrafish, exploratory behavior

Smelly feet and heat – how malaria mosquitoes find their hosts

Posted by Olga Krips on Oct 15, 2013

Why is it that if there is a mosquito in my bedroom, usually it won’t bite me, but it does bite my partner? It seems that mosquitoes use human body odor to locate suitable hosts, and different people smell differently to mosquitoes.

However, it is not only body odor, but also body heat, CO2 from breathing and wind direction may also be important for the mosquitoes to find you. Furthermore, different mosquito species use different cues. For many mosquito species it is still not known exactly what they do to find their hosts.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, insect behavior, exploratory behavior, Track3D, tracking, Automating behavioral observations, Tracking insects, Animal 3D tracking, 3D movement analysis, Mosquito

Testing PCBs toxicity - behavior in zebrafish and their offspring

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 8, 2013

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are synthetic molecules that were used in transformers, electric motors, and more applications from the 1930s onwards. It was quickly discovered that these molecules are toxic, and subsequently, they were banned. Still, their heavy use then and their long half-life still cause PCB contamination today. As dietary intake is the main source of exposure, it often finds its way into our food chains trough fish. It has been linked to alterations in reproduction, the endocrine system, and organ functioning in both animals and humans. In addition, epidemiological studies have found a link between PCB exposure and ADHD.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, T-maze, light/dark challenge, toxicity, activity monitoring

Zebrafish research: behavioral differences between wild-type strains

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 20, 2013

Often in animal research, animals with a certain genetic alteration are compared to a “wild-type” (this being the ‘normal’ rat, mouse, or zebrafish). One might assume that there is no difference between one wild-type animal and the next, but in fact, many different strains of wild-type animals are used.

Many wild-type zebrafish strains
The same is true for zebrafish. Many studies talk of wild-type animals, but the strain is not always mentioned. Furthermore, wild-type fish can be acquired at the pet shop, from a commercial scientific supplier, or simply caught in the wild. Vignet et al. noticed that there have been reports of differences in behavior between wild-type strains, and therefore they stress the importance of matching the most appropriate strain to the behavioral test.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, fish, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, anxiety research, circadian rhytmicity, T-maze, color discrimination, novel tank test, light/dark challenge, bottom dwelling

Mice with Alzheimer’s disease walk well but remember poorly

Posted by Olga Krips on Jul 18, 2013

Modeling Alzheimer’s disease
A large number of genetically engineered mouse models are available to study different aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. APP/PS1 knock-in mice are mice in which two genes associated with the disease are inserted at a specific place in the genome. Much is known about the development of the disease in these mice. But until recently, there was less detailed knowledge on behavioral changes in APP/PS1 knock-in mice that are associated with the disease.

 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, animal behavior research, exploratory behavior, open field test, anxiety research, elevated plus maze, locomotion, novel object test

Optogenetics - Shining a light on brains and behavior

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 13, 2012

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, animal behavior research, behavioral patterns, exploratory behavior, anxiety research, rats, elevated plus maze, optogenetics, operant conditioning

Don’t dwell on it… dive into zebrafish research!

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 11, 2012


About the novel tank diving test and bottom dwelling in zebrafish research

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, animal behavior research, zebrafish, Danio rerio, exploratory behavior, open field test, anxiety research, novel tank test

Brain waves and behavior: sleep to learn

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 19, 2012

To find out more about human and animal learning and memory, we might just have to go to sleep. Ahem – research on sleep, I mean.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, animal behavior research, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, open field test, anxiety research, elevated plus maze, home cage, PhenoTyper, cognition, brain waves, REM sleep

Three ways to test hallucinogens on zebrafish

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 13, 2012

Behavioral endpoints of zebrafish in the novel tank test, the open field test, and the shoaling behavior test

Hallucinogenic drugs (psychedelics) have a growing significance in biopsychiatric research. Zebrafish are a popular animal model and seem highly sensitive to various drugs of abuse. The Kalueff lab established these two facts and in a study described in Effects of hallucinogenic agents mescaline and phencyclidine on zebrafish behavior and physiology (Kyzar et al., 2012).

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, animal behavior research, social behavior research, zebrafish, Danio rerio, exploratory behavior, open field test, anxiety research, novel tank test

Zebrafish as lab animal increasingly popular

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 8, 2011

One stripe ahead; zebrafish increasingly popular as lab animal

Zebrafish is the new rat. Or mouse. More and more rodents in the lab are being replaced by these nifty little striped fish. They are easy to maintain, reproduce and develop rapidly, and there is a great similarity between the human and zebrafish genome. And because they are easily genetically manipulated, many human diseases and developmental disorders can be modeled in zebrafish, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Like rodents, zebrafish (Danio rerio) can be used in tests investigating fear, stress, and anxiety, learning and memory, and social behavior. And these behaviors can be manipulated by changing their genetics (testing different strains as models for diseases), providing stressful stimuli (tapping on the tank, visuals of predators, etc.) and adding substances (anxiolytics such as buspirone, chlordiazepoxide, and diazepam; anxiogenics; socially relevant substances as ethanol and nicotin) to the water.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, animal behavior research, zebrafish, Danio rerio, exploratory behavior, psychiatric disorders, learning and memory, open field test, anxiety research

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