Even more fish.

Sorry about that last post. I am still trying to figure out how to format this blog correctly. Here are links to the abstracts of the articles I used to design my experiment. Admittedly I played up the sophomoric college student part a bit. Apparently a bit too much. To answer a few concerns about this experiment, the fish are not likely to die. I would never preform an experiment that was cruel or served no purpose other than my own personal enjoyment. While, it is not likely that I will have any groundbreaking results, I hope to further my own personal research experience and possibly recreate some fairly important biomedical research. Drinks like a fish and the second article Ethanol effects on three strains of zebrafish


  1. Christian Burnham says

    Thanks for the info.

    It’s tough to get the tone right for everyone on this blog- because there’s definitely a mix of the sophomoric and the serious. You can’t please everyone all the time. Some people will want lots of technical details and others will want a few light-hearted quips.

  2. cerebrocrat says

    I’m sorry that you even felt the need to apologize. I hope that you realize, and that PZ reinforces, that pleasing a bunch of blog commenter wankers is the lowest among your priorities.

  3. Valhar2000 says

    In addition, bear in mind that this blog is open to kooks and cranks of every description, and they do come here given the blog’s notoriety. So you may very well receive comments that you should just ignore.

  4. says

    Good on you for coming back and explaining, harderkid!

    When it comes to formatting, you could copypaste your text into Notepad, to remove all formatting, and then copypaste THAT into the blog editor. Then insert links and whatever else you want and let the blog do its own formatting.

    For those who have trouble reading kid’s post as it is, if you dump Exploder and switch to Firefox, you can increase the text size (Firefox ignores the hard-coded stuff).

  5. sailor says

    Dlugos and Rabin found that alcohol affected the startle response and schooling behaviour in WT and LFS fish but not BLF fish. So the question occurs to me is that because the BLF fish are more resistant to the effects of alcohol? or is it that their startle and schooling behaviour is stronger and more hard-wired? Looking at a different behavioural measure might help reveal that. But I don’t even kow whether you have the three types of fish to work with.

  6. Peter Ashby says

    Well done harderkid, after the heated misunderstandings your first post caused it would be understandable if you had walked away. Instead you have come back with actual information on how you arrived at your methodology If you were my student you would definitely get points for that one.

    I hope you get the analysis on the normal fish going well so you can actually get the experiment going. There is nothing worse than doing an experiment then realising you can’t analyse it properly. I have had to invent analysis techniques more than once…

    Experience is a good teacher, but so is having a good teacher who wants to transfer their experience to you. It may be frustrating to be told you have to walk when all you want to do is run, but something worth doing is worth doing right as well.

  7. rb says

    I would be interested to hear more about your study, being a z-fish fan myself. Are you using a heterogenous mix of wt fish, or “strains” like D&R? what dose(s) will you be using? what behaviors will you be monitoring? I have an undergraduate working on a project tracking simple activity that I actually hope *will* be ground-breaking, so don’t downplay your own potential – contrary to what some have apparently said, the area is quite the opposite of saturated, and there’s a lot of good work to be done! And yes, we all make jokes about sitting around in lab with our liters of ethanol, so in my opinion you’ve done nothing to apologize for – I think some people feel that having no sense of humor makes them appear smarter…

  8. CalGeorge says

    So… what proof is the water in the tank going to be?

    Are you going to dissolve some aspirin into the water after the experiment is over?

    Good luck, Zebra Fish! Hang in there!

    Please don’t resent the human who is tormenting you. It’s for the good of his education.

  9. Peter Ashby says

    CalGeorge your assumption that the fish will suffer is just that, an assumption. Do you suffer from a glass of wine? Do the Tuis I wrote about who get drunk drinking fermenting nectar suffer? (apart from those who get nabbed by cats that is). If you are studying behavioural changes as is proposed then you do not learn very much from poisoning your research subjects.

  10. says

    Not good enough.

    It’s a bullshit experiment that still doesn’t justify exploiting (and that’s what it is, with or without suffering or death) an animal to A) make some sophomoric attempt at including alcohol and your science class so you can show off to all of your buddies, B) learn how to do an experiment, and/or C) understand the research behind ethanol’s effect on zebrafish. And it’s sad that higher institutions don’t have a better regard for other lifeforms (especially ones they so dearly take advantage of for self-gain).

    If you would like to learn without exploiting animals, I would suggest a college-level writing course, as this is the second straight post with spelling and punctuation mistakes.

  11. CalGeorge says

    Please don’t resent the human who is tormenting you. It’s for the good of his education.

    That was (an attempt at) a joke.

    Let the Lost Weekend begin!

  12. sailor says

    Caucasian Jesus, I suspect you are city or suburban dweller who has never had much experience with the cycle and death on a farm or even much experience with animals except perhaps the family pets. You are being absurd. There is no reason to suppose that these fish will suffer in any way at all.

  13. says

    Sailor, I grew up on a farm. Aside from your assumption, you also don’t know how to read. I stated “exploitation” as the point of my post, but suffering or even death. Perhaps you and Harderkid can retake reading and writing together.

  14. says

    Caucasian Jesus, Do you honestly think it’s possible to do ALL meaningful biological research without involving living organisms? If you don’t, then how are we supposed to educate new scientists without ever involving living organisms? I get why some people don’t like the idea of testing things on animals, but unless you simply hate the idea of scientific progress, you’re gonna have to put up with it. Or, hey, you could volunteer to be a research subject.

    The point is, if you don’t want to hear about it, don’t read this blog.

  15. Onkel Bob says

    The only difficulty I see is that aquatic environment. Ethanol appears naturally in terrestrial environments as the result of rotting fruit and airborne yeast. As such, mammals and birds developed (evolved?!) receptors for it.
    This set of factors do not exist in water. Now if you find that indeed such receptors exist in the fish brain, you have the makings of a novel and important PhD. thesis.
    P.S., fruit flies are also terrestrial creatures.

  16. Scott says

    20: That is an interesting question. How would a student go about trying to prove the existance or lack of these receptors?

  17. Mooser says

    You have no idea of the horror and heartbreak you are in for. First, medicinal wine from a teaspoon, then beer from a bottle!
    What’s your plan for rehab, throwing a couple of Antabuse in the aquaria?

  18. Barn Owl says

    [unhelpful commentary] You’re going to have to consider an alternative to the AA Twelve Step Program, because

    a. your subjects are fish, and “steps” are meaningless to them
    b. “God” and a “Power” are mentioned repeatedly in the list of AA Steps, and that won’t go over well with your professor. [/unhelpful commentary]

    The startle response mentioned in one of the papers sounds like a simple and robust behavioral assay. I’m not sure what the equivalent of the vermis is in a zebrafish cerebellum (archicerebellum, perhaps?), but that’s the region affected in chronic alcoholic humans (thus the wide-based stance and gait).

  19. cerebrocrat says

    If by “receptors” we’re talking about receptors on CNS neurons, rather than sensory receptors in the periphery, there ain’t no such thing as ethanol receptors. If there are specialized chemoreceptors for ethanol, then I’ve never heard of them, but that would sure be interesting.

    23: And the next thing you know, your zebrafish are playing for money in a pinchback suit!

  20. cerebrocrat says

    I’m not sure what the equivalent of the vermis is in a zebrafish cerebellum

    They’ve got vestibular/lateral line areas in the cerebellum that’d probably be rougly equivalent to the vermis. I mentioned in the other thread, though, that fish brain is much less dense than mammal brain, so the alcohol would probably perfuse across the brain much more quickly and uniformly than in people; it might be harder to pick out behavioral signatures like wobbling short of acute intoxication (this is purely ex recto speculation, btw).

  21. Barn Owl says

    What about axial tremor (titubation in humans), or deficits in visual pursuit? Those might be reasonable changes to monitor for assays in intoxicated zebrafish. I remember hearing a seminar by John Dowling a number of years ago, and his lab had developed a clever assay for monitoring eye movements in zebrafish (I think they were pretty young animals though-they were immobilized somehow, except for the eyes).

    In humans, the vermis, flocculonodular lobe, fastigial nucleus, and vestibular nuclei are considered together as the “vestibulocerebellar module”, which sounds as if it has a counterpart in zebrafish.

  22. cerebrocrat says

    deficits in visual pursuit

    Yeah, I was thinking that maybe measuring latency in the optomotor response might be good for a course project like this. There’s lots of data from mammals about ethanol effects on optokinetic response for comparison, and optomotor response in the fish could be used as a rough analog of OKR, only without having to deal with immobilizing the fish or measuring eye movements. All they’d need is a round tank and some way to present a stimulus (lazy susan?), and maybe a camera overhead.

    The mammalian vestibulocerebellar module you mention probably has its counterpart in a section of the cerebellar corpus in the zebrafish, along with the corresponding precerebellar brainstem nuclei. No deep cerebellar nuclei, though. There’s a whole lobe (the valvula) for lateral line input, but as far as I know it doesn’t have a counterpart in mammals.