The Loligo® shuttle tanks are modified versions of the classic operant conditioning chambers (also known as the Skinner box) used for experimental analysis of behavior, e.g. to study operant conditioning and classical conditioning in animals.
An operant conditioning chamber permits experimenters to study behavior conditioning (training) by teaching a subject animal to perform certain actions (like pressing a lever) in response to specific stimuli, like a light or sound signal. When the subject correctly performs the behavior, a mechanism delivers food or another reward. In some cases, the mechanism delivers a punishment for incorrect or missing responses.
With this apparatus, experimenters perform studies in conditioning and training through reward/punishment mechanisms. Operant chambers have at least one operandum, that can automatically detect the occurrence of a behavioral response or action.
Typical operanda for primates and rats are response levers. Despite such a simple configuration (e.g. one operandum and one feeder), it is possible to investigate many psychological phenomena in this way.
For this reason operant conditioning chambers have become common in a variety of research disciplines including behavioral pharmacology, and Skinners's Box have been used extensively for behavioral research in primates and rats.
Loligo® shuttle tanks have been developed for aquatic animals like Zebrafish or crustaceans, and the tank design allows for independent control of water quality in two sub compartments. Tank dimensions are made special to accomodate a wide variaty of animal species and sizes.
Inside the Shuttle tank the animal can freely "shuttle" between two sub compartments with opposite acting controls.
The computerized Loligo® shuttle systems are equiped with a video camera and lighting conditions enabling real-time pc vision software to detect animal locomotion.
If the animal changes its position from one user-defined zone to the next through locomotion, the computer software (ShuttleSoft) activates/deactivates programmed devices to change environmental conditions inside the tank, e.g. to regulate water temperature to preferred values through behavior. Or you can set up two different (constant) temperature levels in the two tank compartments independent of fish behavior for exposure/avoidance/choice tests.
Today a main application of Loligo® shuttle tanks measurements of temperature preference in aquatic ectotherms (as well as avoidance behavior), and automated computerized systems have been made for a range of other environmental factors like water turbidity, salinity, oxygen saturation, pH and pCO2.
The turnkey systems offered include everything needed for video behavior analysis as well as monitoring and regulating water quality.