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A low-cost, long-running, open-source stereo camera for tracking aquatic species and their behaviours

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Dunkley, A 
Drewnicki, J 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:p jats:list

jats:list-itemjats:pEcologists are now widely utilising video data to quantify the behaviours and interactions of animals in the wild. This process can be facilitated by collecting videos in stereo, which can provide information about animals' positions, movements and behaviours in three‐dimensions (3D). However, there are no published designs that can collect underwater 3D stereo data at high spatial and temporal resolutions for extended periods (days).</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pHere, we present complete hardware and software solutions for a long‐running, open‐source, underwater stereo camera rig, costing £1337. This stereo camera can continuously record aquatic species and their behaviours/interactions in high resolution (1080 p and 30 fps) and in 3D, over multiple days.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pWe provide full design guides for the cameras and a travel‐friendly rig, and include guidance and open‐source code for calibrating the cameras in space and time. We also show how these cameras could be used to track animals' body parts and positions, and how their size, posture and behaviour can be inferred.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pThis stereo camera will facilitate the collection of high‐resolution ecological and behavioural data, such as affiliative, agonistic or trophic interactions between species, which can inform us about the health and structure of ecosystems. These data will assist ecologists and conservationists in monitoring and understanding the impacts of current environmental pressures on ecosystem functioning.</jats:p></jats:list-item> </jats:list> </jats:p>


Funder: Christ's College University of Cambridge Galapagos Islands Fund

Funder: FSBI Postdoctoral International Travelling Fellowship

Funder: Whitten Lectureship in Marine Biology


3D, pose, Raspberry Pi, species interactions, stereo calibration, stereophotogrammetry, trajectory, underwater camera

Is Part Of


Swedish Research Council (2018‐04076)