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

  • Author / Creator
    Shamchuk, Angela L
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Evenden, Maya (Biological Sciences)
    • Ali, Declan (Biological Sciences)
    • Allison, William Ted (Biological Sciences)