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Title: Fish as a model for understanding spatial cognition
Author: McAroe, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 6259
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis aimed to explore spatial memory in fish through a series of maze experiments (four experimental chapters in total). The first experimental sought to examine spatial memory strategy choice (place versus response) in four species of fish, namely goldfish (Qarassius auratus auratus), killifish (Nothobranchius guentheri), Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) and zebrafish (Danio rerio). Results suggested that the fourth species listed did not show a preference for either strategy, whereas the former three all chose to us a place strategy to solve the standard plus-maze task. Zebrafish are typically a shoaling species and, as such, chapters 3 and 4 explored the effect of shoaling on the spatial memory of this species. It was found that when completing the standard plus-maze task as a group, shoals of zebrafish preferred to employ a place strategy. Furthermore, however, it was also group that individual zebrafish that were trained within a shoal but completed the probe trail alone did not transfer spatial knowledge to their own navigation (i.e. individuals trained as members of shoals still did not show a preference for either a place or a response strategy when completing the probe trial alone). The final experimental chapter aimed to assess the effect of aging on two species of killifish (Nothobranchius guentheri and Fundulopanchax gardneri) through a set of longitudinal experiments and a between-groups design (one group of young fish and one group of aged fish), respectively. Results did not point towards an age-related decline in spatial memory capabilities in these fish, although these conclusions are rather tentative and further work is required to increase the sample size here. Overall, this thesis adds to and develops the existing body of research suggesting fish are an excellent comparative species for exploring spatial memory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available