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BEMOVI, software for extracting behavior and morphology from videos, illustrated with analyses of microbes


Pennekamp, Frank; Schtickzelle, Nicolas; Petchey, Owen L (2015). BEMOVI, software for extracting behavior and morphology from videos, illustrated with analyses of microbes. Ecology and Evolution, 5(13):2584-2595.

Abstract

Microbes are critical components of ecosystems and provide vital services (e.g., photosynthesis, decomposition, nutrient recycling). From the diverse roles microbes play in natural ecosystems, high levels of functional diversity result. Quantifying this diversity is challenging, because it is weakly associated with morphological differentiation. In addition, the small size of microbes hinders morphological and behavioral measurements at the individual level, as well as interactions between individuals. Advances in microbial community genetics and genomics, flow cytometry and digital analysis of still images are promising approaches. They miss out, however, on a very important aspect of populations and communities: the behavior of individuals. Video analysis complements these methods by providing in addition to abundance and trait measurements, detailed behavioral information, capturing dynamic processes such as movement, and hence has the potential to describe the interactions between individuals. We introduce BEMOVI, a package using the R and ImageJ software, to extract abundance, morphology, and movement data for tens to thousands of individuals in a video. Through a set of functions BEMOVI identifies individuals present in a video, reconstructs their movement trajectories through space and time, and merges this information into a single database. BEMOVI is a modular set of functions, which can be customized to allow for peculiarities of the videos to be analyzed, in terms of organisms features (e.g., morphology or movement) and how they can be distinguished from the background. We illustrate the validity and accuracy of the method with an example on experimental multispecies communities of aquatic protists. We show high correspondence between manual and automatic counts and illustrate how simultaneous time series of abundance, morphology, and behavior are obtained from BEMOVI. We further demonstrate how the trait data can be used with machine learning to automatically classify individuals into species and that information on movement behavior improves the predictive ability.

Abstract

Microbes are critical components of ecosystems and provide vital services (e.g., photosynthesis, decomposition, nutrient recycling). From the diverse roles microbes play in natural ecosystems, high levels of functional diversity result. Quantifying this diversity is challenging, because it is weakly associated with morphological differentiation. In addition, the small size of microbes hinders morphological and behavioral measurements at the individual level, as well as interactions between individuals. Advances in microbial community genetics and genomics, flow cytometry and digital analysis of still images are promising approaches. They miss out, however, on a very important aspect of populations and communities: the behavior of individuals. Video analysis complements these methods by providing in addition to abundance and trait measurements, detailed behavioral information, capturing dynamic processes such as movement, and hence has the potential to describe the interactions between individuals. We introduce BEMOVI, a package using the R and ImageJ software, to extract abundance, morphology, and movement data for tens to thousands of individuals in a video. Through a set of functions BEMOVI identifies individuals present in a video, reconstructs their movement trajectories through space and time, and merges this information into a single database. BEMOVI is a modular set of functions, which can be customized to allow for peculiarities of the videos to be analyzed, in terms of organisms features (e.g., morphology or movement) and how they can be distinguished from the background. We illustrate the validity and accuracy of the method with an example on experimental multispecies communities of aquatic protists. We show high correspondence between manual and automatic counts and illustrate how simultaneous time series of abundance, morphology, and behavior are obtained from BEMOVI. We further demonstrate how the trait data can be used with machine learning to automatically classify individuals into species and that information on movement behavior improves the predictive ability.

Citations

1 citation in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:02 Sep 2015 14:45
Last Modified:07 Sep 2016 14:26
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2045-7758
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1529
PubMed ID:26257872

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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