Behavioral differences between natural populations of zebrafish will be conducted to lay the groundwork for future use of this model organism to answer questions about the genetic basis of behavioral evolution. Investigators will travel to India to conduct preliminary investigations of zebrafish natural habitats, identifying environmental features that may be particularly important to behavioral diversification. Wild-caught fish from two populations will be established as new strains in the lab and behaviorally characterized. Behavioral differences between wild-type strains will be compared to differences already observed between existing laboratory strains of zebrafish in general activity, social behavior (shoaling and aggression), predator response (surface orientation, proximity to predator), and stress response (startle behavior and recovery from disturbance). The results will set the stage for future genetic research using crosses and genomic mapping techniques to determine whether similar behavioral differences are associated with similar genetic changes.
II. Broader Impact:
This project will begin to produce and disseminate a collection of behavioral protocols for other researchers (e.g., geneticists, developmental biologists). Researchers will also continue to work with a team of high-school teachers to develop and to test inquiry-oriented curricular materials based on zebrafish behavioral genetics. Two new wild-type strains of zebrafish will be established and contributed to the Zebrafish Stock Center.