Tracking nemo: Help scientists understand zebrafish behavior

Tyrone J. Tolbert, Shinnosuke Nakayama, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advent of automated tracking software has significantly reduced the time required to record movement trajectories, thereby facilitating behavioral studies of zebrafish. However, results are substantially influenced by tracking errors, such as loss and misidentification of individuals. In this study, we present the development of an online citizen science platform, Tracking Nemo, to improve data accuracy on swimming trajectories of zebrafish groups. As an online extension of software for tracking the position of zebrafish from video recordings, Tracking Nemo offers volunteers the opportunity to contribute to science by manually correcting tracked trajectory data from their personal computers. Researchers can upload their videos that require human intervention for correcting and validating the data. Citizen scientists can monitor their contributions through a leaderboard system, which is designed to strengthen participant retention and contribution by tapping into intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Tracking Nemo is expected to help scientists improve data accuracy through the involvement of citizen scientists, who, in turn, engage in an authentic research activity and learn more about the behavior of zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-313
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • citizen science
  • motion tracking software
  • zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


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