Designing a lab in a fishbowl: Adventures in Bio Honors

Biology Honors is a class made up predominately of sophomores; yesterday, they worked on a lab involving Beta fish. Glenn '16 explains:

The Bio Honors class is currently writing a lab from scratch testing the different reactions and methods of learning on Beta fish. Students are able to choose their own experiments, allowing the labs to encompass a wide arrange of topics. These extend from how the Beta fish reacts to different feeding times in a day to whether or not its possible to teach one how to play soccer.

At the moment, my partner and I are observing the reactions that a beta fish has when it sees its own reflection. Its generally agreed that beta fish attack the mirror aggressively because they think its another fish, but our beta fish seems almost oblivious to the mirror that we put next to it. So either our fish is really, really smart, or it's really, really dumb. Science.


Other pairs came up with different ideas for determining how beta fish learn. A few examples:


Can a beta be taught how to swim through the hoop, with food as an incentive?









What about learning that the color yellow means mealtime?






And finally, the age-old questions of male/female fish relations: Will a female beta's eating habits change when a male is present?

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