Locomotor behavior and neurogenesis

Our research has shown that, in electric fish, social interactions and cortisol treatment promote brain cell production. Other researchers have shown that, in mammals, exercise  also enhances the production of new brain cells during adulthood. It is possible that social interaction and cortical treatment have their effect on brain cell production in electric fish by increasing swimming behavior. To test this possibility, we have developed a video tracking system to record and quantify fishes’ swimming behavior using Noldus EthoVision software. We compare the rates and speed of movement in paired and isolated fish.  We also examine locomotor behavior in fish treated with a compound that blocks cortisol receptors to determine whether cortisol affects socially induced locomotion.

-A. McCook