Date of Award

Spring 3-17-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Peter Moller

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Serrano

Academic Program Adviser

Dr. Diana Reiss


Pollution, specifically heavy metal pollution, in various bodies of water has been a significant issue for decades. Research has been conducted on heavy metals and their effects on the environment, larger fish species, and humans since the 1970s (Skidmore, 1964; Adeniyi et al., 2007; Adeosun et al., 2015; Bawuro et al., 2018). It is known that zinc is a neurotoxin in some species and causes harm to the environment. It is also known that it causes harm to people if it is ingested or if they are exposed to it for long periods of time (Mahurpawar, 2015; Mizuno and Kawahara, 2013; Mohod & Dhote, 2013; Morris & Levenson, 2017) There is ample research on certain heavy metals and their effects on behaviors in commercially and scientifically important fish species, such as feeding and swimming. However, there is little research in other areas of behavior, such as learning, in fish species that are non-anthropocentrically important. One such species is Peter’s Elephantnose fish, Gnathonemus petersii. This research project aims to thoroughly review previous publications on the subject of heavy metals and their effect on various aspects of fish behavior and physiology and to assess the effects that zinc has on the learning abilities of weakly electric fish.



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