The Effects of Sensory Salience on Smooth Pursuit Tracking Performance of Zebrafish During Rheotaxis

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Solmaz Ş. İ., Koç O., Demirel A., İbişoğlu F., Uyanık İ.

FENS Forum of Neuroscience 2022, Paris, France, 9 July - 13 August 2022, pp.4639

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Paris
  • Country: France
  • Page Numbers: pp.4639
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The sensory salience plays a critical role in multisensory behavioral control. Our goal is to investigate the impact of sensory salience on the behavioral performance of Danio rerio during a new behavioral assay—target tracking during rheotaxis. We built a speed-controlled swim tunnel for an individual zebrafish to perform rheotaxis. During rheotaxis, zebrafish orient their bodies toward the flow and hold their position to avoid getting dragged. We placed a cylindrical plexiglass tube with a dark inner stick inside the setup to obscure the flow around its neighborhood. The tube is attached to a linear actuator that moves the tube horizontally. When moved, the outer transparent tube generates mechanosensory cues and the dark inner stick generates visual cues. Zebrafish track the movement of the tube to remain around the low gradient regime behind the tube. We varied the sensory salience by changing the diameter of the inner stick (1-5 cm) and the flow speed (10-20 cm/s). We conducted experiments with N=10 adult zebrafish by sinusoidally moving the tubes in 0-2 Hz range. We estimated frequency response functions between the movements of the fish and the tube. Our results show that tracking performance was better for 3cm-tube with a monotonic decrease in both directions. The flow speed did not have a significant effect in tracking. Our results suggest that the tracking behavior might be dominated by vision in light. Thus, we are currently expanding our experiments to dark and testing target objects in different shapes to improve mechanosensory stimulation.