Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Allen D. Szalda-Petree

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Psychology

Abstract

In recent years there has been an increase in chemical disposal of antidepressants, such as Fluoxetine, entering our water system through treated wastewater. Of concern is the small aquatic species being expected to survive and reproduce in this poisoned water system. Various behavioral effects have been found across species around the world, in all ecosystems. Furthermore, these toxins accumulate in aquatic species and can be transferred via consumption to other organisms, spreading the toxins and causing unknown consequences. In smaller organisms, many behavioral effects have already been documented such as changes in movement and motivation. In order to further study the effects of Fluoxetine on behavior, motivation, courting and aggression we sought out an aquatic species that fit these criteria. Betta splendens lack self-recognition which results in a unique aggressive response to mirrors that can be manipulated by the drug. It was hypothesized that the drug would affect the aggressive response of the males, changing their overall fighting technique and motivation to engage with the mirror. The experiment was divided into three phases: baseline, drug exposure, and return to baseline. An alleyway was utilized with a mirror on one end to measure four aggressive responses: gill flaring, fin spreading, lateral displays, and biting. The latency for males to swim from one side of the alleyway to the other was documented and a camera recorded the specific aggressive behaviors. Prior to fighting the mirror, half the males were primed with a female to provide additional motivation to engage with the mirror. Results revealed a significant change in fighting behaviors during the drug phase, with lateral display and gill flaring exhibiting the largest negative impact. These results have shown us there are detrimental effects from these antidepressants in our water systems, and that improper chemical disposal will negatively impact the ecosystem.

Category

Social Sciences

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Fish on Fluoxetine: Fins of Fury or Fins of Fainéant

In recent years there has been an increase in chemical disposal of antidepressants, such as Fluoxetine, entering our water system through treated wastewater. Of concern is the small aquatic species being expected to survive and reproduce in this poisoned water system. Various behavioral effects have been found across species around the world, in all ecosystems. Furthermore, these toxins accumulate in aquatic species and can be transferred via consumption to other organisms, spreading the toxins and causing unknown consequences. In smaller organisms, many behavioral effects have already been documented such as changes in movement and motivation. In order to further study the effects of Fluoxetine on behavior, motivation, courting and aggression we sought out an aquatic species that fit these criteria. Betta splendens lack self-recognition which results in a unique aggressive response to mirrors that can be manipulated by the drug. It was hypothesized that the drug would affect the aggressive response of the males, changing their overall fighting technique and motivation to engage with the mirror. The experiment was divided into three phases: baseline, drug exposure, and return to baseline. An alleyway was utilized with a mirror on one end to measure four aggressive responses: gill flaring, fin spreading, lateral displays, and biting. The latency for males to swim from one side of the alleyway to the other was documented and a camera recorded the specific aggressive behaviors. Prior to fighting the mirror, half the males were primed with a female to provide additional motivation to engage with the mirror. Results revealed a significant change in fighting behaviors during the drug phase, with lateral display and gill flaring exhibiting the largest negative impact. These results have shown us there are detrimental effects from these antidepressants in our water systems, and that improper chemical disposal will negatively impact the ecosystem.