Trevor Jenkins

Biology 1615 Conrad
Article Outline

Environmental Change Enhances Cognitive Abilities in Fish


Scientists already know that organisms adapt and evolve over replication. The

topic of this article takes the task of finding out how cognitive abilities in fish cause

certain adaptations by food and cue given to them as they age. Since fish are classified

under the animal kingdom the same as people are, these studies reflect to possible

similar situations to people. Taking the approach that because fish adapt a certain way

to changes in food, people will adapt similarly, scientists reason that this could bring out

a new way for controlled adaptation among people. This study could find the most

favorable approach to food to make people larger and more cognitive than they

currently are.

Although focused mainly on food, this study applies to the environment of the fish

as a whole. Scientists gave the test study fish certain amounts of food as juveniles and

changed the amount as the fish aged to adults to test growth, environment cognition,

and any relations between the two.

Materials and Methods

This experiment was mainly observations by the same scientist of two groups of

fish, juvenile and adult. The environment was the same for both groups, other than the

amount of food given to each fish, being one low amounts of food, and the other high
Trevor Jenkins
Biology 1615 Conrad
Article Outline

amounts. Similar tanks were used to avoid differentiation in other aspects of the


The weight and size of the fish were measured using a 1mm gray grid every

three weeks. Also, the fish were signalled when to eat and when not to using a red “X”

and a blue square. The measurements were taken by how long it took for the fish to

recognize the cue and eat the food.


Results show that age of the fish experimented on wasn’t a factor as much as the

environment change. Fish with the lower and varied amounts of food increased in

cognitive ability much more than those that had a steady supply of food. Food cues did

cause a slight change in cognition, however, it is proved that mainly the diet change was

the cause of change in cognitive abilities. Explaining this, the scientists say “Juvenile

fish should have high incentives to grow fast, since the number of potential gape-size

limited predators decreases exponentially with increasing body size.” (Kotrschal et al.,

2010) However, in this statement, scientists don’t take into account what the adult fish

are doing.


The conductors of this project have come to the conclusion that cognitive abilities

in fish are positively affected by changing the environment. However, this test was only
Trevor Jenkins
Biology 1615 Conrad
Article Outline

done with fish, and does not prove anything in terms of other animals, organisms, or

even people. Something that could have limited this experiment is the information of

how much food was actually given to each individual fish. Fish are animals that will

consume as much as they can until they die, so it would be very difficult to tell which fish

in the study ate more than others. It would also be very helpful to know a parabola

graph of the most ideal amount to feed the fish. That way, there could be an idea on

what it would be for other animals.
Trevor Jenkins
Biology 1615 Conrad
Article Outline


Kotrschal, A., & Taborsky, B. (2010). Environmental Change Enhances Cognitive

Abilities in Fish.
Trevor Jenkins
Biology 1615 Conrad
Article Outline


This assignment helped me acquire substantial knowledge by letting me know

just how the environment can change the growth of an organism. I’m sure this study

applies to much more than just the specified type of fish, which means the environment

and even the food intake can affect the way someone grows and learns.

This article taught me to think critically because it tells me that fish are affected

by the study, then expects me to decide how this information is useful. Although it

wasn’t too hard to figure out what it was trying to get to, it also makes me wonder what

other environmental factors play into the way people adapt as they grow.