The Effects of Infrasound Frequencies on Wild-Type Zebrafish Anxiety Behaviour


  • Kale Scatterty MacEwan University


Various fish species have shown sensitivity to infrasound frequencies – those below the lower human hearing threshold of 20Hz – often eliciting behaviours indicative of anxiety. As wild-type Zebrafish, Danio rerio, have been emerging as a promising model of anxiety behaviour in research, such a response could add to their usefulness in future studies on anxiety, should they also exhibit it. Of particular interest to this study are the potential noise pollution effects that modern human industry may have on aquatic life, as such frequencies are commonly generated by many marine technologies (e.g., marine wind turbines or diesel engines). The aim of this study was to evaluate Danio rerio as an appropriate model system to test the anxiogenic effects of infrasound frequencies on aquatic life. Through utilization of motion tracking technology and behavioural open field tests, it was found that an infrasound frequency tone of 15Hz was able to produce anxiety behaviour in naïve zebrafish that was not present under any other conditions tested. 15Hz infrasound frequencies had anxiogenic effects on arena location preference, with zebrafish showing no significant preference during habituation trials but moving away from the infrasound speaker during administration of 15Hz tones. These results confirm that zebrafish may be used as an appropriate animal model to study the anxiogenic effects of infrasound frequencies on aquatic life.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Trevor Hamilton