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J R Soc Interface. 2012 Jan 7;9(66):77-88. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0113. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Three-dimensional reconstruction of the fast-start swimming kinematics of densely schooling fish.

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Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Information transmission via non-verbal cues such as a fright response can be quantified in a fish school by reconstructing individual fish motion in three dimensions. In this paper, we describe an automated tracking framework to reconstruct the full-body trajectories of densely schooling fish using two-dimensional silhouettes in multiple cameras. We model the shape of each fish as a series of elliptical cross sections along a flexible midline. We estimate the size of each ellipse using an iterated extended Kalman filter. The shape model is used in a model-based tracking framework in which simulated annealing is applied at each step to estimate the midline. Results are presented for eight fish with occlusions. The tracking system is currently being used to investigate fast-start behaviour of schooling fish in response to looming stimuli.

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