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See detailBeyond the "three-second fish memory" folk psychology belief: experimental evidences from active avoidance conditioning in goldfish to olfactory learning in carp and miscellaneous training in zebrafish or other teleost fishes.
Ylieff, Marc ULg

Conference (2013, November 05)

Learning abilities have been widely documented in rodents from experimental psychological studies for a long time. However, learning and memory play a pivotal role in the behavioural development of all ... [more ▼]

Learning abilities have been widely documented in rodents from experimental psychological studies for a long time. However, learning and memory play a pivotal role in the behavioural development of all vertebrates, and fish are no exception. Several typical “fish examples” illustrate the oral presentation. [less ▲]

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See detailVideo multitracking of fish behaviour: a review and future perspectives
Delcourt, Johann ULg; Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Ylieff, Marc ULg et al

in Fish & Fisheries (2013), 14(2), 186-204

With the development of digital imaging techniques over the last decade, there are now new opportunities to study complex behavioural patterns in fish (e.g. schooling behaviour) and to track a very large ... [more ▼]

With the development of digital imaging techniques over the last decade, there are now new opportunities to study complex behavioural patterns in fish (e.g. schooling behaviour) and to track a very large number of individuals. These new technologies and methods provide valuable information to fundamental and applied science disciplines such as ethology, animal sociology, animal psychology, veterinary sciences, animal welfare sciences, statistical physics, pharmacology, as well as neuro- and ecotoxicology. This paper presents a review of fish video multitracking techniques. It describes the possibilities of tracking individuals and groups at different scales, but also outlines the advantages and limitations of the detection methods. The problem of occlusions, during which errors of individual identifications are very frequent, is underlined. This paper summarises different approaches to improving the quality of individual identification, notably by the development of three-dimensional tracking, image analysis and probabilistic applications. Finally, implications for fish research and future directions are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailVideo multitracking to study the fish behaviour
Delcourt, Johann ULg; Ylieff, Marc ULg; Bolliet, Valérie et al

Conference (2012, July 07)

With the development of digital imaging techniques over the last decade, there are now new opportunities to study complex behavioural patterns and rhythms in fish (from individual to collective group) and ... [more ▼]

With the development of digital imaging techniques over the last decade, there are now new opportunities to study complex behavioural patterns and rhythms in fish (from individual to collective group) and to track a very large number of individuals. These new technologies and methods provide valuable information to fundamental and applied science disciplines such as ethology, animal sociology, animal psychology, veterinary sciences, animal welfare sciences, statistical physics, pharmacology, as well as neuro- and ecotoxicology. Specifically in situations where a large number of individuals are involved, the use of video tracking data is essential, as manual analyses would be complicated, time-consuming and sometimes even impossible. Today, multitracking allows us to observe directly the behaviours of groups, and to determine the real interaction rules by sampling data collected in nature or in the laboratory, without any a posteriori rules as it was and is frequently the case in computer simulation of collective behaviours. With these technologies, the quantitative measures of collective behaviours is now easily accessible, and allow to define social behaviours with more accuracy than just qualitative criteria as is always the case for instance with the definition of shoaling and schooling behaviours. Firstly will be introduced a review of fish video multitracking techniques. This review describes the possibilities of tracking individuals and groups at different scales, but also outlines the advantages and limitations of the different detection methods. The problem of occlusions, during which errors of individual identifications are very frequent, will be discuss. Secondly, our recent contribution in colour-based multitracking will be introduced, notably the new application of fluorescent VIE (Visible Implant Elastomer) tags in automatic tracking technology to study the behaviour of transparent animals like glass eels (Anguilla anguilla) in dim light or in darkness. The method makes it possible to measure the activity (notably distance and speed) of four individuals as a function of tidal and nycthemeral rhythms in the same flume (circular aquarium simulating the river or estuarine conditions) across a wide time scale (from seconds to weeks) in the context of migration in estuary. [less ▲]

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See detailBehavioural effects of approach-avoidance motivational conflicts in Zebrafish: testing an Attentional Control Model on videotracked swimming activity
Ylieff, Marc ULg; Froidbise, Sophie; Jacquet, Laurie et al

Poster (2012, July 05)

Motivational conflicts have been thoroughly studied in birds and mammals over the last decades, but their investigation has remained anecdotic with respect to fish. However, recent researches reveal that ... [more ▼]

Motivational conflicts have been thoroughly studied in birds and mammals over the last decades, but their investigation has remained anecdotic with respect to fish. However, recent researches reveal that, emotion and cognition also play a pivotal role in the expression of fish behaviour. Fish exhibit fear, long-term memory, attentional and learning capacities that are comparable with those of other vertebrates, including nonhuman primates. Thus, fish can be expected to manage motivational conflicts using cognitive similar resources. As many other teleost fishes, zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a good candidate to investigate the behavioural effects of approach–avoidance conflicts because of its genetic and neurophysiological proximity with “higher” vertebrates. The present study aims to determine how Zebrafish reacted to threats of different magnitude (low vs. high) following the delivery of food. [less ▲]

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See detailVideo tracking in the extreme: a new possibility for tracking nocturnal underwater transparent animals with fluorescent elastomer tags
Delcourt, Johann ULg; Ylieff, Marc ULg; Bolliet, Valérie et al

in Behavior Research Methods (2011), 43

Initially developed so that an individual could be recognised in mark-recapture studies of aquatic animals, fluorescent VIE (Visible Implant Elastomer) tags are used here for a new application in ... [more ▼]

Initially developed so that an individual could be recognised in mark-recapture studies of aquatic animals, fluorescent VIE (Visible Implant Elastomer) tags are used here for a new application in ethometry: the study of behavior of transparent animals in dim light or in darkness using automatic tracking technology. The application and validation of this multitracking method is tested in the context of research on the glass eel (Anguilla anguilla) estuarine migratory behavior, a crucial point to better understand the dynamics of this endangered species. The method makes it possible to measure the activity (notably distance and speed) of four individuals as a function of tidal and nycthemeral rhythms in the same flume (circular aquarium simulating the river or estuarine conditions) across a wide time scale (from seconds to weeks). [less ▲]

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See detailComputerized video multitracking of several small translucent fishes (glass eels) at night with fluorescent elastomer tags
Delcourt, Johann ULg; Bolliet, Valérie; Ylieff, Marc ULg et al

Poster (2010, July)

European eels (Anguilla Anguilla), an endangered species with high economic value, exhibit very unusual features in their multistage catadromous life cycle at different life stages. The reproduction of ... [more ▼]

European eels (Anguilla Anguilla), an endangered species with high economic value, exhibit very unusual features in their multistage catadromous life cycle at different life stages. The reproduction of eel takes place in the Sargasso Sea. Leptocephalus larvae use ocean currents (mainly the Gulf Stream) to migrate to European coastal areas, and then metamorphose into glass eels probably as they reach the continental shelf. Glass eel then, enter estuaries to join the fresh waters network. Knowledge about glass eel biology and migration has mainly increased in the eighties, and it is now well established that the activity during the estuary migration depends mainly on tidal cycle, even if lunar and circadian rhythms and/or direct influence of light and tidal coefficient may interact. Different migratory tactics are suspected on the basis of recent laboratory experiments (Bolliet & Labonne, 2008; Bureau du Colombier et al., 2009), notably the existence of individuals swimming only with the current, others swimming with and against the current, and others presenting a weak degree of activity. The propensity to migrate and glass eels energy content would be linked and may result in different migratory behaviours possibly leading to estuarine settlement (Bureau du Colombier et al., 2007; 2009). Unfortunately, few are known about the glass eel swimming behaviours in estuaries, a crucial point to better understand their estuarine migration: such knowledge would help to characterize the migratory tactics and to better understand the link with energy status. The videotracking system [EthoVision Color-Pro 3.1 (Noldus Information Technology)] which allows to measure automatically the movements of individuals represents an interesting tool to progress in this questioning. Nowadays, video tracking to measure fish behaviours is relatively frequent, but is rather rare in the ecological studies. Moreover, tracking a transparent animal, under water current conditions is a real challenge, particularly at night. To detect the individuals, several eels are marked by a fluorescent VIE tag (Visible Implant Elastomer, Northwest Marine Technology Inc.). VIE do no affect growth, survival and behaviour of tagged glass eels. Initially developed to improve the identification of individual tags in mark-recapture studies of aquatic animals, VIE tags are used here for a new extreme application in ethometry: the study of behaviours of transparent animals in weaker luminosity and in the dark by automatic tracking technology. The individual identification is based on the fluorescent color (red, blue, yellow and green) emitted by the VIE tag injected in the muscle mass on the basis of dorsal fin. The detection of the four marks is excellent. It allows measuring the activity (notably path and speed) of each tagged individuals as a function of tidal and nycthemeral rhythms in the same chronotron (circular aquarium simulating the estuarine conditions) and spatial use at a wide time scale from second to week. Another advantage is the possibility of tracked animals to go out the analysed arena without error of identification when it appears again in the analysed zone. This multitracking method by fluorescent VIE tags could be applied to a large number of species (crustaceans, fish, holothurians, amphibians, …). References: Bolliet & Labonne, 2008 Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 362, 125-130; Bureau du Colombier et al., 2007 Physiology & Behavior 92, 684-690 ; Bureau du Colombier et al., 2009 Journal of Fish Biology 74, 2002-2013. Acknowledgements: This work was financially supported by FNRS-FRS (National fund of Research, Belgium) (project n°2.4617.08, n°2.4569.06, n°2.4569.10F), by Hubert Curien Tournesol project and by an EGIDE Grant. We thank J-C. Aymes for its help in testing the video tracking software and system. We are also highly grateful to Jacques Rives for its help in settling and monitoring the experiments. [less ▲]

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See detailGlass eel swimming behaviour during their estuarine migration: new insights from video tracking analysis
Delcourt, Johann ULg; bolliet, Valérie; Ylieff, Marc ULg et al

Conference (2010, July)

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See detailCumulative effects of road de-icing salt on amphibian behavior
Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Bichot, Marion; Ficetola, G. Francesco et al

in Aquatic Toxicology (2010), 99(2), 275-280

Despite growing evidence of the detrimental effect of chemical substances on organisms, limited research has focused on changes in behavioral patterns, in part due to the difficulties to obtain detailed ... [more ▼]

Despite growing evidence of the detrimental effect of chemical substances on organisms, limited research has focused on changes in behavioral patterns, in part due to the difficulties to obtain detailed quantitative data. Recent developments in efficient computer-based video analyses have allowed testing pesticide effects on model species such as the zebrafish. However, these new techniques have not yet been applied to amphibians and directly to conservation issues, i.e. to assess toxicological risks on threatened species. We used video tracking analyses to test a quantitative effect of an environmental contaminant on the locomotion of amphibian tadpoles (Rana temporaria) by taking into account cumulative effects. Because recent research has demonstrated effects of de-icing salts on survival and community structure, we used sodium chloride in our experimental design (25 replicates, 4 concentrations, 4 times) to test for an effect at the scale of behavior at environmentally relevant concentrations. Analysis of 372 1-hr video-tracks (5 samples per sec) showed a complex action of salts on behavioral patterns with a dose and cumulative response over time. Although no effects were found on mortality or growth, the highest salt concentrations reduced the speed and movement of tadpoles in comparison with control treatments. The reduced locomotor performance could have detrimental consequences in terms of tadpoles’ responses to competition and predation and may be an indicator of the low concentration effect of the contaminant. On one hand, this study demonstrates the usefulness of examining behavior to address conservation issues and understand the complex action of environmental factors and, more particularly, pollutants on organisms. On the other hand, our results highlight the need of new computerized techniques to quantitatively analyze these patterns. [less ▲]

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See detailRapport de recherche: compte rendu des travaux de mise au point et de validation technologiques réalisés à l’INRA de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (France) du 18 au 24 octobre 2009, dans le cadre d'un Projet PHC TOURNESOL 2009 « Comportement de nage des civelles d’Anguilla anguilla »
Ylieff, Marc ULg

Report (2009)

Nous nous sommes rendu fin octobre 2009 au Centre INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine pour une mission scientifique sur le Site d’Hydrobiologie de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (Pays-Basque, Fr.). Cette mission de 7 jours ... [more ▼]

Nous nous sommes rendu fin octobre 2009 au Centre INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine pour une mission scientifique sur le Site d’Hydrobiologie de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (Pays-Basque, Fr.). Cette mission de 7 jours (dont 2 jours pour les déplacements depuis Liège) a eu pour objectif précis de mettre au point, d’optimiser et de valider la technique de video-tracking informatisé pour le pistage en aquariums en forme d’anneau (« Chronotron ») de plusieurs civelles d’Anguilla anguilla. Ce travail méthodologique réalisé au moyen de notre système de vidéo-tracking EthoVision 3.1 (Noldus I.T. bv) s’est inscrit comme étape préliminaire au bon déroulement d’une plus longue mission de recherche à St-Pée que réalisera prochainement (mi-novembre à mi-décembre 2009) le Dr. Johann DELCOURT (voir autre document PHC-Tournesol 2009). [less ▲]

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See detailOptimizing active avoidance conditioning for high-throughput behavioral and cognitive screening in fish. Proceedings of Measuring behaviour
Ylieff, Marc ULg; Ferrara, André ULg; Fagniart, C. et al

in A.J. Spink et al. (Ed.) Proceedings of Measuring Behaviour (2008)

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See detailComparing the EthoVision 2.3 system and a new computerized multitracking prototype system to measure the swimming behavior in fry fish
Delcourt, Johann ULg; Becco, Christophe ULg; Ylieff, Marc ULg et al

in Behavior Research Methods (2006), 38

Coming from the framework of unmarked fry tracking, we compared the capacities, advantages, and disadvantages of two recent video tracking systems: EthoVision 2.3 and a new prototype of multitracking. The ... [more ▼]

Coming from the framework of unmarked fry tracking, we compared the capacities, advantages, and disadvantages of two recent video tracking systems: EthoVision 2.3 and a new prototype of multitracking. The EthoVision system has proved to be impressive for tracking a fry using the detection by gray scaling. Detection by subtraction has given less accurate results. Our video multitracking system is able to detect and track more than 100 unmarked fish by gray scaling technique. It permits an analysis at the group level as well as at the individual level. The multitracking program is able to attribute a number to each fish and to follow each one for the whole duration of the track. Our system permits the analysis of the movement of each individual, even if the trajectories of two fish cross each other. This is possible thanks to the theoretical estimation of the trajectory of each fish, which can be compared with the real trajectory (analysis with feedback). However, the period of the track is limited for our system (about 1 min), whereas EthoVision is able to track for numerous hours. In spite of these limitations, these two systems allow an almost continuous automatic sampling of the movement behaviors during the track. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact implantation of a transmitter on Sarpa salpa behaviour: study with a computerized video tracking system
Jadot, Catherine; Donnay, Annick ULg; Ylieff, Marc ULg et al

in Journal of Fish Biology (2005), 67(2), 589-595

Two transmitter masses (2 and 6% of the fish's mass) were selected to examine the interference of tags with the behaviour of Sarpa salpa using a computerized video tracking system based on digital imaging ... [more ▼]

Two transmitter masses (2 and 6% of the fish's mass) were selected to examine the interference of tags with the behaviour of Sarpa salpa using a computerized video tracking system based on digital imaging techniques. The study demonstrated that light transmitters had no effect on the behavioural variables studied, and a substantial bias in behaviour is introduced if heavier (6%) tags are used. (c) 2005 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. [less ▲]

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See detailRapport de recherche, mandat Chargé de recherches F.R.S.-FNRS (année académique 2003-2004): Validation et exploitation d’une nouvelle technique éthométrique basée sur l’imagerie numérique pour caractériser les effets toxiques (et toxicomanogènes) de xénobiotiques chez des poissons (C. auratus & L. cephalus) et chez la souris NMRI
Ylieff, Marc ULg

Report (2004)

Pour rappel, le comportement constitue une réponse globale d’un organisme intégré dans un environnement et un temps donnés. Il représente l’interface des « interactions organisme-environnement » et ... [more ▼]

Pour rappel, le comportement constitue une réponse globale d’un organisme intégré dans un environnement et un temps donnés. Il représente l’interface des « interactions organisme-environnement » et constitue de ce fait un indicateur pertinent et sensible de l’influence de facteurs environnementaux sur l’animal. Ce paradigme s'applique ainsi à l'effet des xénobiotiques et guide toutes les recherches que nous menons depuis 2002. Lors d’un séjour d’études et de recherches à L’INRA de Rennes (France) au sein du Laboratoire d'Ecologie Aquatique (UMR EQHC) sous la direction du Docteur Philippe SAGLIO, nous nous sommes initiés à des manipulations en laboratoire permettant la caractérisation précise de la sphère chimiosensorielle chez l’écrevisse américaine Procambarus clarkii, modèle animal choisi par le laboratoire en vue d’études ultérieures d’écotoxicologie comportementale. L’outil de base était constitué de quatre olfactomètres. Ensuite, le début de l’année 2004 fut consacré au calibrage du système ETHOVISION® pour le suivi d’alevins de poissons. Cette mise au point était destinée au démarrage d’une nouvelle recherche portant sur l’ontogenèse des comportements anti-prédateur chez les Cichlidés africains, projet conduit par un jeune chercheur-doctorant F.R.I.A. Nous avons également mis au point et validé le système ETHOVISION® pour les rongeurs, en vue de l’examen des symptômes d’abstinence induits chez la souris (MNRI) par diverses drogues d’abus. Cette étude est réalisée au sein des laboratoires de l’Unité de Neuroscience Comportementale et de Psychopharmacologie Expérimentale (Prof. Ezio TIRELLI, FAPSE).l Par ailleurs, a compréhension plus approfondie de l’influence des xénobiotiques sur le processus global du stress ou les mécanismes de défense face aux prédateurs et leur reflet au niveau du comportement suppose l’acquisition d’informations qui vont au-delà de l’analyse des comportements locomoteurs chez le poisson. Plus précisément, la caractérisation de processus plus complexes comme l’anxiété, la peur, les apprentissages et la mémoire, permettrait de mieux comprendre les perturbations locomotrices liées au stress. L’exploration de ces perturbations est réalisable via l’évaluation des réponses conditionnées d’évitement actif et inhibitif chez les poissons. C’est en septembre 2004 que nous avons reçu les 4 « fish shuttle box active avoidance learning system », commandés à MED Associates – USA quelques mois plus tôt. L’installation et la configuration du système presque terminée, nous allons en 2005 amorcer une série d’essais chez de jeunes adultes de Carassius auratus. [less ▲]

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