An interactive video-computer tracking system for quantification of locomotor behavior.

Academic Article


  • We have developed a flexible, moderately priced, behavioral analysis system which has been used to determine the response of salmonids to certain olfactory stimulants. The system, which we call ITS for interactive computer-video tracking system, consists of a 128K Apple IIe computer with software, a video camera and videocassette recorder, and a special-effects generator. Experiments are video taped and then, during playback, the special effects generator is used to simultaneously display the video image and the graphics output of the computer on a monitor. The user tracks the animal of interest using an electronic pen, and the position of that animal in the test chamber, in the form ofx-y coordinates, is determined by the computer at user-defined time intervals. When tracking is complete, a plot of the track of the animal is printed within the outline of the test chamber. The following data can also be calculated: swimming velocity, distance from a predetermined point in the chamber (for example, olfactory stimulant source), and time spent in a given area. These variables can be calculated over any chosen time periods and/or for the entire experiment. ITS has numerous advantages over commercially available devices that perform similar tasks. First, it is relatively inexpensive, especially if one already owns video equipment and a computer. Second, it can analyze many types of experiments that can be stored on video tape, including field observations or manipulations. Third, because it is not automated, it is easy to track multiple objects, even if their tracks cross or are not easily located against a low-contrast background. Finally, because whole images do not have to be digitized, and data collection intervals can be adjusted by the user, it is possible to analyze very long experiments with a microcomputer. In this paper we describe ITS and then we demonstrate how we have used it to demonstrate that changes in ambient pH alter the behavioral response of juvenile Atlantic salmon to olfactory stimuli.
  • Authors

  • Royce-Malmgren, CH
  • Watson, Winsor
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 1987
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 24302130
  • Start Page

  • 1029
  • End Page

  • 1044
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 5