Alaska EPSCoR Data Portal
Measuring fish and their physical habitats: versatile 2D and 3D video techniques with user-friendly software
Applications of video in fisheries research range from simple biodiversity surveys to three-dimensional (3D) measurement of complex swimming, schooling, feeding, and territorial behaviors. However, researchers lack a transparently developed, easy-to-use, general purpose tool for 3D video measurement and event logging. Thus, we developed a new measurement system, with freely available, user-friendly software, easily obtained hardware, and flexible underlying mathematical methods capable of high precision and accuracy. The software, VidSync, allows users to efficiently record, organize, and navigate complex 2D or 3D measurements of fish and their physical habitats. Laboratory tests showed submillimetre accuracy in length measurements of 50.8 mm targets at close range, with increasing errors (mostly <1%) at longer range and for longer targets. A field test on juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) feeding behavior in Alaska streams found that individuals within aggregations avoided the immediate proximity of their competitors, out to a distance of 1.0 to 2.9 body lengths. This system makes 3D video measurement a practical tool for laboratory and field studies of aquatic or terrestrial animal behavior and ecology.
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