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Video multitracking of fish behaviour: a synthesis and future perspectives


Johann Delcourt, Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology, Behavioural Biology Unit, University of Liège, 22 Quai van Beneden 4020 Liège, Belgium
Tel.: +32 (0)4 366 5079 or 5080
Fax: +32 (0)4 366 5113


With the development of digital imaging techniques over the last decade, there are now new opportunities to study complex behavioural patterns in fish (e.g. schooling behaviour) and to track a very large number of individuals. These new technologies and methods provide valuable information to fundamental and applied science disciplines such as ethology, animal sociology, animal psychology, veterinary sciences, animal welfare sciences, statistical physics, pharmacology as well as neuro- and ecotoxicology. This paper presents a review of fish video multitracking techniques. It describes the possibilities of tracking individuals and groups at different scales, but also outlines the advantages and limitations of the detection methods. The problem of occlusions, during which errors of individual identifications are very frequent, is underlined. This paper summarizes different approaches to improving the quality of individual identification, notably by the development of three-dimensional tracking, image analysis and probabilistic applications. Finally, implications for fish research and future directions are presented.