A new morphometric implemented video-image analysis protocol for the study of social modulation in activity rhythms of marine organisms
Menesatti, P.; Aguzzi, J.; Costa, C.; García, J.A.; Sardà, F.
Journal of Neuroscience Methods
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Video-image analysis can be an efficient tool for microcosm experiment sportraying the modulation of individual behaviour based on sociality. The Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus is a burrowing decapod. The commercial capture of which occurs by trawling only when animals are engagedin seabed excursions.
Emergence behaviour is modulated by the day– night cycle but a further modulation occurs upon social interaction in a still unknown fashion. Here, we present a novel automated protocol for the tracking of the movement of different animals at once based on a multivariate morphometric approach. Four black and white tags were customized according to a precise geometric design. Shape Matching and Complex Fourier Descriptors analyses were used to track tag displacement through consecutive frames in a 7-day experiment under monochromatic blue light(480nm)–darkness conditions. Shape Matching errors were evaluated in relation to tag geometry. Time series of centroid coordinates in pixels were transformed in centimetres. The FD analysis was slightly less efficient than the Shape Matching, although more rapid (i.e. up to 20 times faster). Nocturnal rhythms were reported for all animals. Wave form analysis indicated marked differences in the amplitude of activity phases as proof of interindividual interaction. Total diel activity presented a decrease in the rate of out of burrow locomotion as the testing progressed. N.norvegicus is a nocturnal species and present observations sustain the efficiency and fidelity of our automated tracking system.