Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lights, Camera, Action: Cue the Goldfish

02.03.2010
Biologist Scott McRobert, Ph.D., likes studying fish behavior. He has published research on shoaling, or grouping behavior, in zebra fish, molly fish, painted tetras, killifish and female fighting fish. Soon, and for the first time, he will begin a study of Carassius auratus, or the pet shop variety of goldfish.

McRobert, professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., wonders about goldfish shoaling behavior. “There is literature suggesting that goldfish shoal, and I feel fairly confident that they will, but it's nice not to know,” says McRobert. “It makes the study more intriguing.”

But McRobert didn’t choose goldfish as an experimental animal just to satisfy his curiosity. “I chose them because of their size and coloration,” he says. “Since they are brightly colored, they will show up well on Fish Cam.”

Fish Cam is much more than just a camera filming fish. “It is actually an exciting and creative way to teach science to school children,” says McRobert, who has set up a 20-gallon tank that is monitored by a wireless Internet camera, which he has dubbed “Fish Cam.” Its online site gives elementary to high school teachers and students an opportunity to participate in the behavioral research McRobert and his university students perform in his Biodiversity Lab.

On March 1, the first of the experiments begin, and students from Friends Central School in Wynnewood, Pa., and Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., will be watching as the goldfish make their on-camera entrance in the tank, which has been divided into three separate chambers. Anyone can see Fish Cam, and participate in the experiments at
http://sc102-videocamera.sju.edu/img/main.cgi?next_file=main.htm.
It is best viewed with a Firefox browser.
McRobert has developed a calendar of experiments to run throughout the spring, and hopes that eventually, Fish Cam will become a regular resource for teaching science around the world.

Karen Snetselaar, Ph.D., chair and professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s, is the director of SJU’s National Science Foundation GeoKids LINKS – Learning Involving Neighborhoods, Kids and Science – program, a collaboration with the Wagner Free Institute of Science that brings hands-on science learning activities to underserved school children. Snetselaar looks forward to incorporating Fish Cam into the GeoKids program for Philadelphia school children. “Fish Cam is a nice use of technology that is not just a gimmick,” she says. “It enables school children to do real science – the same research that Saint Joseph’s students are doing.”

McRobert says the experimental design is fairly simple. For two weeks, students come online once each day and observe the fish for 600 seconds, or 10 minutes. In total, the students will gather data on 10 test fish.

“We start the study with a shoal of five fish, and each day at 9 a.m. EST – including weekends – we will add a new test fish,” he says. “The idea of the experiments is to determine the mean amount of time that the goldfish spend swimming near a shoal of several goldfish in an end chamber, and compare that to the time they spend swimming near an empty chamber. This comparison tells us whether or not goldfish shoal.”

People often think that any group of fish is a school, and are confused by the term shoal. McRobert says, “all schools are shoals, but not all shoals are schools.

“A school is a group of fish that swim together in a synchronized fashion, moving in the same direction, at the same speed and turning simultaneously,” McRobert notes. “To be called a school, a group of fish must demonstrate all of these rather complex behavioral patterns. The word shoal, on the other hand, is the term for any simple social grouping of fish.”

Shoaling behavior is beneficial to fish, McRobert says. “It offers numerous benefits to individual fish, including increased success in finding food, access to potential mates, and increased protection from predators.”

The first experiment is designed to answer the question do goldfish shoal? Ensuing weeks will determine whether they discriminate between shoals on the basis of shoal size, and whether they discriminate between shoals of fish of different coloration. McRobert and his team will help participating teachers and students analyze their data.

Teachers interested in learning more about running Fish Cam experiments are invited to visit the Web site at http://www.sju.edu/academics/cas/biology/resources/biodiversity/

fishcam/index.html

Patricia Allen | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sju.edu

Further reports about: Camera GeoKids Science TV Snetselaar goldfish synchronized fashion

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>