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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does Acute Alcohol Exposure Modulate Aggressive Behaviors in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio), or is the Bark Worse than the Bite?


Previous research reports that acute alcohol exposure disrupts shoaling behavior in the zebrafish. The purpose of these studies is to better understand how acute alcohol exposure (0%, 0.125%, 0.25%, 0.5%, and 1.0%) alters zebrafish behavior. The effects of alcohol on aggressive behaviors in humans have been widely researched. Previous research from this lab has shown a bimodal effect of alcohol on shoaling behavior in zebrafish, with 0.5% and 2.0% (v/v) disrupting shoaling while 1.0% and 1.5% showing no direct effect. Because shoaling is a social behavior and is altered during acute alcohol exposure, aggressive behavior between fish should be addressed. In this series of experiments we explored alcohol’s effects on aggressive behaviors. In order to address a possible role for alcohol induced aggression as it relates to shoaling we chose to examine the effects of acute alcohol exposure on zebrafish pairs. Fish were assessed during initial encounters occurring in our testing apparatus during acute alcohol exposure. Results show a change in biting as a function of all doses. Acute alcohol exposure (0.5%) also decreases overall occurrences of chasing and retreating but may increase the duration of each bout. Lastly in a separate experiment we looked at blood alcohol levels as a result of acute alcohol exposure.

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