Behavioral Research Blog

3 studies to get you in the mood for the European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo

Posted by G. Smit on Jun 26, 2015

It is almost time for the 9th European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo, Norway! So here are a couple of recent publications on zebrafish research to get you in the mood.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, anxiety research, novel tank test, shoaling behavior

10 Innovative behavioral studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 17, 2015

Tomorrow the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (ADPD) in Nice, France starts. Last week I blogged about a study on Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some more studies and get you in the mood for the conference. This blog post features 10 interesting studies that use innovative techniques to study models of AD and PD and important underlying neuronal mechanisms.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, learning and memory, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion, top 10, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance

3 interesting studies to get you in the mood for the Australia and New Zealand Zebrafish Meeting

Posted by G. Smit on Jan 26, 2015

We like zebrafish and the promise they hold for neuroscience research. That’s one of the reasons why Noldus is a sponsor of the 16th Australia and New Zealand Zebrafish meeting that will take place next week at Queensland’s Gold Coast. It’s also a good reason to mention some of the most interesting zebrafish studies we have been highlighting on our blog lately.

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Topics: zebrafish

How young zebrafish cope with stress

Posted by G. Smit on Jan 15, 2015

We are all a bit stressed from time to time. Maybe some of you a bit more than usual right now, it being the post-holiday, catch-up-with-everything season and all… But stress is a natural thing, and how we cope with it differs from person to person. In research, we use the term coping style. And now Christian Tudorache and his colleagues from Leiden University (The Netherlands) have found that these coping styles emerge early on in life, or at least they do in zebrafish. They recently published a paper in Stress.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, activity monitoring, stress research, coping styles

Top 14 of last year’s animal behavior research blog posts

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 30, 2014

We cannot stay behind when it comes to the end-of-year lists, so here is a top 14 of 2014’s most popular animal behavior posts on our Noldus behavioral research blog. (For a top 3 on human behavior research, see this post) As expected, the list is dominated by zebrafish research, but it’s not the topic of our most read post!

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Topics: mice, social behavior research, dogs, horses, zebrafish, learning and memory, open field test, anxiety research, rats, wolves, caterpillars, 2014, crayfish

Inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Posted by Guest blogger on Oct 24, 2014

By Remy Manuel, Marnix Gorissen and Ruud van den Bos
(email:, &

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly being used as model in behavioural, neurobiological and genetic research. Underlying reasons are high genetic homology to humans and the many advantages over the use of rodents, such as low cost, easy handling, short reproduction cycle and high fecundity. Furthermore, its genome, transcriptome and proteome are well described, making the species a model of choice for behavioural research linked to genetics.

An emerging field addresses learning and memory related to anxiety and fear behaviour, which has been studied through inhibitory avoidance paradigms [1,2]. Assessment of inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish is based on the conflict between entering a dark area to avoid a brightly lit area (innate response; innate anxiety) and avoiding this dark area, as it has been associated with an electric shock as negative stimulus (conditioned fear avoidance). Higher latencies of entering the dark area following training are indicative of increased inhibitory avoidance learning.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, learning and memory, avoidance learning

5 reasons to visit FENS Forum of Neuroscience 2014

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 1, 2014

Imagine networking with 6,000 fellow neuroscientists in the most vibrant and trendy city of Italy – Milan! Now add inspiring scientific presentations, satellite events, and a dozen of networking events…who could pass up on that opportunity? Not convinced yet? Here are 5 reasons why you should attend FENS Forum in Milan!

(1) Get your game face on!

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Topics: Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, 2014, neuroscience, conferences

How zebrafish regenerate (and how to measure their recovery)

Posted by G. Smit on May 12, 2014

We all know of animals that are able to regenerate: lizards that grow back their tails, flatworms that can grow into new worms when cut in half. Zebrafish have this special ability as well. You can’t cut them in half and expect two new zebrafish, but there are parts of their body that are able to regenerate, such as heart tissue. The heart cell can divide to replenish missing tissue; interestingly, this property is also shown in a newborn mouse heart, but is lost as the mouse matures (European Biopharmaceutical Review, April issue).

The key to spinal cord injury treatment?

Regenerative abilities may also be the key to spinal cord injury treatment; yet another good reason for scientists to study zebrafish in the lab. They may hold the key to the development of important therapies  for spinal cord injury, as Liping Ma and colleagues show us in the April issue of PLOS ONE.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, spinal cord injury, regeneration

How zebrafish are changing neuroscience

Posted by G. Smit on May 1, 2014

Zebrafish. This small little fish is a vertebrate, and a relatively complex one at that. Looking at all the major neurotransmitters and hormones that are investigated in neuroscience, they are as good of a model as many mammalian species. Indeed, recent studies have shown how they are ideal  for testing in behavioral domains such as anxiety, sociality, sleep, reward, and cognition.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, social behavior research, zebrafish, anxiety research, T-maze, novel tank test, bottom dwelling

How to mark zebrafish without compromising their behavior

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 20, 2014

They may have just found the answer to this at the University of Toronto, Mississauga (Canada). Cheung et al. tried out a method using subcutaneous injection with dyes.

Clipping fins and adding tags
There have been many advances in methods and techniques for experiments with zebrafish, but identifying individuals seems like a difficult problem to tackle. You can’t just tell from the pattern of their stripes like with zebras, so even the trained eye can’t tell them apart. Many researchers use markings – clipping the fins in a specific way. It’s a relatively easy method, but because these fins are mainly transparent, these markings are difficult to see. Moreover, clipping fins might interfere with the fish’s swimming abilities, which poses a new problem, especially for behavioral studies.

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Topics: The Observer XT, animal behavior research, social behavior research, video observation, zebrafish, markers

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