Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The learning impairment and hyperactivity produced by embryonic methylmercury exposure may persist for generations in zebrafish; Neurobehavioral effects of embryonic methylmercury exposure may persist for generations in zebrafish


Psychology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


The zebrafish has become a useful organism for studying the neurobehavioral effects of environmental contaminants due to its short generation times, high numbers of eggs per female, ease of breeding, and short developmental periods before hatching. The present study investigated the neurobehavioral effects of embryonic exposure to methylmercury in zebrafish and the persistent of those neurobehavioral effects in the third generations of the zebrafish exposed to methylmercury as embryos using the avoidance conditioning as the behavioral paradigm. In Experiment 1, adult zebrafish hatched from embryos that were exposed to no methylmercury or various concentrations of methylmercury were trained and tested for avoidance responses. The results showed that zebrafish hatched from embryos exposed to no methylmercury learned avoidance responses during training and showed increased avoidance responses during testing. Zebrafish hatched from embryos exposed to methylmercury were hyperactive as they frequently swam back and forth during training. Those fish showed decreased avoidance responses as they became less hyperactive during testing. The data indicated that the higher concentration the methylmercury exposure, the more severe the hyperactivity during training and the lower the avoidance responses during testing. In Experiment 2, adult zebrafish that were the third generation of the zebrafish exposed to various concentrations of methylmercury as embryos were trained and tested for avoidance responses. The third generation of zebrafish exposed to the higher concentration of methylmercury as embryos showed persistent hyperactivity and learning impairments. Results of the present study showed that embryonic methylmercury exposure produced hyperactivity and learning impairment, and those effects may persist for generations.

Conference Name

Internaitonal Conference on Education , Economic, Psychology and Society; and invited talks at Wuhan University

Conference Location

Beijing and Wuhan, China

This document is currently not available here.