Do fish need to learn how to swim together? The effects of social experience on fine-tuning social avoidance kinematics in larval zebrafish.
We are interested in how developmental social isolation affects swimming in zebrafish. Larval zebrafish swim in discrete bouts that allow for detailed kinematic analysis. Using high-speed video tracking of tail movements in freely swimming larvae, we study how larvae swim spontaneously and react to social, as well as controlled, artificial stimuli. While one-week old zebrafish are yet to develop social attraction, they show social repulsion behavior during which they perform large swim bouts, known as C-start escapes. Our results show that larvae raised in isolation react to social stimuli at larger distances and with stronger C-start bout types. Furthermore, we applied pharmacological and genetic approaches to dissect the contribution of different neuromodulator systems and sensory modalities. Currently, we are using calcium imaging techniques to map the neural circuits of social avoidance reactions and how they are altered in larvae raised in isolation.
Host: Carolina Doran