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Influence of environmental enrichment on the neurogenesis of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Grant number: 21/09688-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal Investigator:Percilia Cardoso Giaquinto
Grantee:Rafaela Hemily Cirilo
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Environmental enrichment (EA) is the manipulation that exposes animals to new and complex situations caused by physical and/or social changes, responsible for promoting an increase in sensory, cognitive, and physical stimulation. In general, this technique helps in the well-being of individuals by providing the manifestation of natural behaviors, as well as by reducing stereotyped behaviors and can be used as an animal welfare strategy in species under human care, such as in zoos and aquariums. In fish, studies on AS have only gained ground in recent decades, especially those related to maladaptive traits developed in captivity. Also, there are studies demonstrating its benefit in increasing zootechnical parameters, as well as motivation and spatial learning. Based on these influences, we question whether there is a correlation between AS and neurogenesis since the emergence of new neurons can be regulated by environmental factors and the animal's experience, especially in the early stages of life. This correlation has already been studied in rodents, as the presence of AS in this group of mammals leads to an increase in their neurogenesis. However, there is a gap in this knowledge in non-mammalian animals. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) proves to be an interesting biological model to investigate the possible correlation between environmental enrichment and neurogenesis since in addition to representing a highly produced fish species in Brazil and worldwide, it also has complex social and spatial behaviors. , such as dominance hierarchy, nest building and territory defense. Thus, we will perform neuronal analyzes in adult animals, investigating whether there are quantitative differences in the regions of the neuronal proliferation of O. niloticus that develop in an enriched environment.(AU)

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