FYI. We've received the White Paper below from Dr. G. Staaks to
whom I thank for his courtesy. Cheers, APS.
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997 16:00:59 +0200
From: Georg Staaks <[log in to unmask]>
Organization: IGB Berlin, Germany
I'd like to contribute to the proposed "White papers on
commercial software" a system that we are using for about three
years to manage automatic behavioural observations of fish under
experimental conditions to assess the influence of different
abiotic factors (especially, but not only, xenobiotics). The
system comprises of a combined hardware-software solution, it is
not cheap, rather expensive, but we got excellent results of
video recognition and spatial object trecking under experimental
* Operative System.
DOS 6.22, DOS/Windows 3.1, Windows95 (Dos-box)
* Name & version of package.
BehavioQuant=AE Behavior Quantification System V.4.02
* Requirements of the package (disk space, RAM, video card,
The minimal system consists on
metacom frame grabber mbq4-h-v4.02
metacom software-package mbq4-p-v4.02 Personal computer, DOS
6.22 / Windows 3.11/ Windows95 with minimum 486/66, 8 Mb
RAM, HD-space depending on planned observation time periods
(1 day with 24h observation of 5 cameras takes 50 Mb - data
can be deleted after analysing, but we are burning the basic
data sets on CD once a week)
Video-CCD-b/w-camera (up to 16 with optional multiplexer) no
special requirements are made, even infrared cameras and
lamps work well for night and day observations PC-monitor
and control monitor VGA some cable and connectors optional:
Video and actuator / annuator multiplexer (16 channel) up to
15 more Video-CCD-b/w-cameras
Video Cassette Recorder
* Uses (stats, maths, graphics, gis, etc.).
BehavioQuant=AE is a system, for automatic recording of
behavioral parameters of multiple moving objects (e.g. fish,
daphnia also tubifex and lemna). BehavioQuant=AE makes use of
the integrative whole organism behavioral response by recording
and quantifying the locomotion activity of the observed objects.
BehavioQuant=AE is able to register and track up to 200 untagged
individuals from up to 16 video sources sequentially.
The measured characteristics of objects (location, dimension and
time) makes it possible to describe certain behavioral patterns
similar to an ethogram.
The data output consists of:
Tracking data (reconstructed track for each object)
The motility values of each object
Count of turnings for each object
Medium x / y - position for each object
Frequency and duration (normalized) of the parameters
e.g. motility, turnings, x/y-position, distances between objects
The advantages compared to other systems are:
- it is based on PC-technology
- it was especially designed for fish
- it tracks up to 200 untagged objects
- it can process up to 16 video-sources =
- the support works quick and reliable
its only efficient for a person professionally working on =
experimental behaviour of fish
- high price 30,000$ to 60,000$ (depending on configuration)
- a lot of time is needed to analyse all the data output you get
- no 100 % accuracy of individual tracking (but as far as I know
better than any other comparable system)
- no warning of insufficient HD-space before a measurement
* Quality of manuals.
* Cost effectiveness.
- expensive, but good
We did a lot of scientific work with the system and can recommend
it for experimental-behavioural purposes. Further developments
and features of the BehavioQuant depend on the request and the
number of potential users.
More information about some research done with the system can be found
More information about the system can be found =
http://www.drmaier.com/metacom/ (german start page)
http://www.drmaier.com/metacom/indexe.htm (english explanation)
Dr. Georg Staaks .
Department Biology and Ecology of Fishes .
Institut fuer Gewaesseroekologie und Binnenfischerei .
Mueggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany .
Tel. 0049 (0)30 64181-625 Fax. -600 .
E-Mail: [log in to unmask] .