The program, idTracker, detects and follows every animal in the videos and allows to know the behavior rules of their social interaction
Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have developed a software based on the discovery of some algorithms that enable the identification of each individual, therefore allowing their tracking within the group. Thus, the door opens to the quantitative study of the rules of social interaction for many species. The work has been published in the Nature Methods journal.
Animals that move in groups make decisions considering what other members of their community do. To find out the rules of these interactions, researchers record monitoring videos through which they study the behavior of different individuals. However, existing monitoring methods so far show identification errors throughout the video, which makes that assignment of identity is wrong.
Researchers from the Cajal Institute (CSIC) have developed a software called idTracker, a CSIC patent that enables tracking of animals through identification. The image of the individual, with its unique features, becomes the particular "footprint" of each animal, which allows tracking it although the human visual system can not. Even if they hide or temporarily disappear from the scene, these are recognized by the program when they enter the scene again.
Gonzalo G. de Polavieja, CSIC researcher and head of the study, states: "From now on, we will be able to quantitatively determine the rules of animal behavior in groups taking into account the individuality of each animal".
Frame by frame tracking
The software identification system first performs a search of the specimens when they are separated and can be differentiated. Since then, the program identifies and recognizes its image in every frame of the video. The identification is automatically done by extracting the 'footprint' of each animal. Thus, the routes that each of them took can be determined. De Polavieja adds: "Furthermore, it is possible to study the same individual in several videos because its 'footprint' is always the same. This enables a better understanding of their behavior".
Researchers claim that idTracker is a very easy to use software that can be used with a variety of different species. They state: "We have done tests with fish (Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes), flies (Drosophila melanogaster), ants (Messor structor) and mice (Mus musculus), but it can be applied to other animals".
And among the applications of this software, Alfonso Pérez Escudero, CSIC researcher also during the preparation of this study, notes that "in the short term, this will be used in science, but in the longer term, the method we have developed can be applied to recognize people in large crowds, vehicles or parts in a factory, for instance".
Alfonso Pérez-Escudero, Julián Vicente-Page, Robert C. Hinz, Sara Arganda y Gonzalo G. de Polavieja. idTracker: Tracking individuals in a group by automatic identification of unmarked animals. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2994
María González | Eurek Alert!
29.06.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Seeing the forest through the trees with a new LiDAR system
28.06.2017 | The Optical Society
Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.
Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.06.2017 | Life Sciences
29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine