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Spatial Cognition in Zebrafish

  • Joshua L. Haight
  • Joseph A. Schroeder
Protocol
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Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 52)

Abstract

Studies of teleost spatial cognition have revealed that fish possess an impressive array of navigational abilities and are capable of spatial memory based tasks utilizing both egocentric and allocentric cues. The emergence of zebrafish as an optimal animal model for developmental, genetic, and chemical screening investigations necessitates a better understanding of this species behavior including spatial cognition. Investigations of zebrafish spatial cognition described here reveal that zebrafish quickly learn to execute spatial tasks based on visual cues to avoid simulated predator attacks and to obtain food reward. They are also capable of memorizing spatial alternation sequences for navigational tasks and memory of these tasks is retained for several weeks. Two additional protocols designed to evaluate complex navigational behavior in zebrafish are also described. Results from preliminary studies indicate that zebrafish can learn to navigate mazes comprised of multiple directional turns with minimal aid from allocentric visual cues. The growing collection of zebrafish spatial cognition protocols and the accumulation of data from carefully designed behavioral studies when combined with what is known about the molecular neurobiology of the species will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the neurological basis of spatial cognition.

Key words

Spatial memory spatial alternation cognitive maps navigation allocentric strategies egocentric strategies neurological basis of cognition conditioned place preference conditioned place aversion associative learning three-axis maze multiple t-maze 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua L. Haight
    • 1
  • Joseph A. Schroeder
    • 2
  1. 1.Behavioral Neuroscience ProgramConnecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyConnecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA

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