In the past few decades, the zebrafish has become a popular vertebrate model in various fields of research, especially visual neuroscience, where the versatile zebrafish model has been used for anatomical, physiological, genetic, developmental, and behavioral research. Anatomical and physiological studies have shown that the zebrafish has the necessary mechanisms required for color vision. However, to date, there is no evidence that zebrafish behavior is regulated by color vision. This project used an appetitive choice discrimination paradigm to assess the ability of the zebrafish to modify its behavior based exclusively on color cues. Subjects were conditioned to associate a food reward with a particular colored stimulus and were then required to discriminate between the visual stimulus associated with food and another, equiluminant visual stimulus of a different wavelength. Results showed that the zebrafish can modify its behavior on the basis of stimulus wavelength. The methods used here could be further developed to determine color perception thresholds and examine behavioral modification based on UV visual processing in zebrafish. Also, this and other research involving the zebrafish can be used as a model system to investigate disorders associated with human visual processing.
Animal Sciences | Aquaculture and Fisheries
Thornberry, Tim, "Assessing Wavelength Discrimination Abilities in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Using Appetitive Choice Discrimination Learning" (2006). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 119.