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Fundamental developments in larval zebrafish (Danio rerio) olfactory mediated behaviour Open Access


Other title
flow-through system
olfactory-evoked behaviour
larval zebrafish
nucleobase odourants
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Shamchuk, Angela L
Supervisor and department
Tierney, Keith (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Allison, William Ted (Biological Sciences)
Evenden, Maya (Biological Sciences)
Ali, Declan (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences
Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
For many fish, their olfactory system allows for the critical detection of environmental chemical cues indicative of food, predators, kin and mates. Through odourant recognition, fish are able to react appropriately to their environment and elicit behaviours necessary for survival. The central objective of this thesis was to examine odourant-evoked behaviours of larval zebrafish (Danio rerio), who due to their age are not only ecologically vulnerable, but are undergoing rapid olfactory tissue development. Prior to these studies, few larval odourant-evoked behavioural responses had been investigated. Consequently, a portion of this thesis was dedicated to building the foundation for future studies. Two novel apparatuses were constructed: a flow-through system to observe changes in activity and an avoidance-attraction trough to test whether odourants affect area occupancy. Through validation of this equipment, behavioural responses to embryo extract (avoidance) and hypoxanthine-3-N-oxide (alarm) were characterized for the first time in 7 day-old larvae. To date, these are the earliest observed behavioural responses to these odourants in fish. Post-method validation, additional studies were conducted to identify 5, 6 and 7 day old larval responses to nucleobase compounds. While found to be behaviourally active, results indicated that nucleobase compound chemical structure, fish age and exposure naivety influenced occupancy behavioural responses. Overall, the work described in this thesis has expanded knowledge of nucleobase odourants, highlighted the importance of testing multiple behavioural metrics and established the much needed groundwork for future studies on larval olfactory mediated behaviours.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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