Date Presented

Spring 5-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Dr. David Freier

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Savage

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Terry


The experiment focuses on the behaviors of zebrafish when they are exposed to an environment that causes anxiety or fear behavior and how controlled amounts of exercise will affect the behaviors of the fish. Fearful behavior was measured by the activity level and area of the swimming during the fear conditioning process. We investigated whether the changes in activity level, areas of swimming in the tank, and depth of swimming in the tank were significant as well as if there was an interaction effect between the fear conditioning and our dependent variables. Zebrafish were randomly assigned to three groups: the control group, fear conditioned group, and exercised group. The exercised fish were placed in a large glass tube prior to the fear conditioning protocol for their experimental treatment. The fish swam against the lowest intensity flow on our water pump until they could no longer swim against the current. Individual fish in both experimental groups were placed into the fear conditioning apparatus where a Rigol DP832 programmable power supply delivered shocks intermittently to the environment. AquaScan behavioral tracking software and webcams analyzed the swimming patterns of the fish. It was hypothesized that fear behaviors (swimming toward the bottom of the tank, toward the outer edges, and swimming with excessive or absent activity) would decrease when exposed to exercise before the fear conditioning. The data showed that the only statistically significant effect the experimental group and pre or post experimental condition had was on the time spent in the middle of the tank and failed to show significant change in time spent in the lower portion of the tank or in the no activity level. From this data we concluded that the introduction of exercise had an effect on overall behavior but did not show significant decrease in the amount of fear behavior shown.