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Training Fish Like Pavlov’s Dogs

popfish-outlookThis press release resulted in several placements in the press, including The Baltimore Sun. You’ll find links to several of them below.

Striped bass aquaculture would be more productive and cost efficient if we could just call the fish over to one location for feeding, harvesting and the treatment of disease. Arthur N. Popper, professor and chair of Zoology, is studying how to do just that.

“What I want to do is straightforward,” says Popper, who is determining if striped bass can hear. If they can, Popper will ascertain if they can be trained to respond to a particular sound in a specific way.

His experiment, supported by the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, is quite simple. First, he will play a three-to five-second pulse of sound underwater in a tank filled with striped bass. Immediately after the sound pulse, food will be dropped at a specific place in the tank. If the experiment is successful, the fish will learn that the sound is saying, “Come here, I’m about to feed you at this spot.”

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