Our laboratory focuses on the application of zebrafish behavior models to better understand stress-induced changes in physiology and behavior. Specifically, we are interested in how “classical” neurotransmitter systems (e.g., noradrenergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic systems) function during normal, intoxicated and stressed states to influence physiology and behavior. We also investigate the accompanying changes in the production of glucocorticoids (i.e., cortisol).
Additionally, we are interested in social behavior and understanding individual differences in behavior. Individual variation in behavior is more than just noise around an average of optimum behavioral responses. When the environment is the same, individuals consistently act differently from each other, which has consequences in many aspects of an individual’s life, including: mate choice selection, response to predators, exploring new environments, among many others which ultimately influences fitness. In human research, the idea of consistent individual differences in behavior over time and across contexts is synonymous with personality. Although identifying “personality” in animals is not a straightforward process, this working definition can be a starting point for investigation.