Place versus response learning in fish: a comparison between species
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Place learning is thought to be an adaptive and flexible facet of navigation. Due to the flexibility of this learning, it is thought to be more complex than the simpler strategies such as learning a particular route or navigating through the use of cues. Place learning is crucial in a familiar environment as it allows an individual to successfully navigate to the same endpoint, regardless of where in the environment the journey begins. Much of the research to date focusing on different strategies employed for navigation has used human subjects or other mammals such as rodents. In this series of experiments, the spatial memory of four different species of fish (goldfish, killifish, zebrafish and Siamese fighting fish) was analysed using a plus maze set-up. Results suggest that three of the species showed a significant preference for the adoption of a place strategy during this task, whereas zebrafish showed no significant preference. Furthermore, zebrafish took significantly longer to learn the task than the other species. Finally, results suggest that zebrafish took the least amount of time (seconds) to complete trials both during training and probe.
KeywordsSpatial memory Spatial cognition Fish Animal model Navigation
The authors would like to acknowledge the following individuals for assistance with laboratory set-up and fish husbandry: Georgina Glaser, Sinéad Smith, Chris Preshaw, Gillian Riddell and other members of the technical staff at the School of Biological Sciences, QUB. We would also like to thank the funding bodies of this research: The Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast. Finally, we would like to thank Ken Cheng and Hannah White for advice on statistics.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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