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Science Cafe: The Amazing World of Electric Fish

  • Thursday, November 12, 2015
  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Most people know that fish like the electric eel or torpedo ray generate electric shocks that can stun or even kill. Less well known is that other species of fish make and sense weak electric fields. Weakly electric fish, which are active at night and often live in muddy waters, use their electric fields to navigate and to communicate with each other. Surprisingly, electric fish have evolved a number of times. In this Science Café talk, neuroscience professor Harold Zakon will describe how electric fish make and sense electric fields, what information they communicate with each other, and what electric fish tell us about evolution in general.

Glass Knifefish. Photo by Luis Ruiz Berti, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Glass Knifefish. Photo by Luis Ruiz Berti, CC BY-SA 3.0.

About the Speaker

Harold Zakon is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin and holds a position as Adjunct Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. In September 2015 he was awarded the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, given in recognition of scientists whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. Zakon received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior from Cornell University in 1981.



November 12, 2015
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Daily Planet Cafe

Nature Research Center
121 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States


Katey Ahmann