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Animal Behavior Lab Report

Background:

Zebrafish are tropical freshwater fish; a male must be present for ovulation and
spawning to occur. Females are able to spawn at intervals of 2-3 days, laying hundreds of eggs
in each clutch; fertilized eggs almost immediately become transparent.

Purpose:

The purpose of the lab is to observe the responses of Zebrafish to different


environmental factors & design/conduct an investigation of animal behavior.

Hypothesis:

The hypothesis for this lab was “If the zebrafish are exposed to a different
environmental factor(s), then the zebrafish will move away from that variable.”

Materials:

● Petri dishes
● Straws
● Zebrafish
● Ice bath
● Weighing boat
● Food coloring

Procedure:

(Part A)

Setup a behavior chamber with petri dishes


1.
Obtain a weighing boat and place water & ice in it to create an ice bath
2.
Place one side over the ice bath
3.
Observe the ten Zebrafish and record the number in each chamber every thirty
4.
seconds for ten minutes.
(Part B)
1. Setup a behavior chamber with petri dishes
2. Add one drop of blue food coloring in the middle of the right side.
3. Observe the ten Zebrafish and record the number in each chamber every thirty
seconds.

Data & Observations:

Time(in sec) # of fish in Cold water # of fish in Room Temp. water


0:30 2 8
1:00 2 8
1:30 2 8
2:00 2 8
2:30 2 8
3:00 2 8
3:30 2 8
4:00 2 8
4:30 2 8
5:00 2 8
5:30 2 8
6:00 2 8
6:30 2 8
7:00 2 8
7:30 2 8
8:00 2 8
8:30 2 8
9:00 2 8
9:30 2 8
10:00 2 8
Data Table 1 (Part A): Cold/Room Temperature

At the start of the lab, there were two Zebrafish on the right side and eight on the left
in the petri dishes. Once the ice bath was placed underneath the right side, the two fish on
the right were slowed (ectothermic) and eventually stopped moving due to the chilled water.
Throughout the ten minutes, some of the fish moved near the bridge to the petri dish that
was over the ice bath, but then immediately fled to the room temperature side; ending up
with the same amount for the full length of the lab.

Analysis:

Table 1 Zebrafish (Cold/Room temperature)


(Analysis Questions)

(Part A)

1. The zebrafish seemed to prefer the room temperature water, since most of them
stayed there.
2. The movement was taxis since they preferred the room temperature water, thus
moving to it towards it (taxis usually involves motion in the direction of the stimulus or
away from the stimulus).
3. This behavior might be advantageous to a zebrafish in order for its enzymes to
continue to work normally.
(Part B)

1. The zebrafish exhibited kinesis—away from the food coloring, becoming slightly
disoriented and seemingly blinded by the dark color moving away in any direction.
2. This behavior could ward it from potential dangers, such as a predator.
3. This experiment could be improved by having the two petri dishes closed from
each other so that the water would not mix, as well as having a control group.
Error Analysis:

Some errors may have occurred throughout the lab. Firstly, the petri dish was not
sealed, which may have caused some water to be mixed between the two dishes. Also, the
fish may have moved due to the petri dishes being somewhat uneven when placed over the
ice bath. Another error may have been when the fish saw human’s “interfering” with their
current home they fled to another side of the dish.

Discussion:

The hypothesis of the lab was “If the zebrafish are exposed to a different
environmental factor(s), then the zebrafish will move away from that variable” and was
predicted that the room temperature water would be preferred by the zebrafish rather than
the cold water. Based on the observations and results, the hypothesis was supported since the
two tests indicated a larger portion of the zebrafish in the area without variables. For
example, the data table for the test with food coloring showed that after ten minutes, the
fish moved out of the blue water, and towards the clearer water.

Discussion Questions:

(None indicated)