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Arena Worm Tracker


C. elegans in a microfluidic behavior arena, captured with a single worm tracker.

Overview:
We developed a microfluidics-based system for the analysis of C. elegans locomotory behavior in response to defined spatial and temporal stimulus patterns. We designed 2 x 2 cm structured arenas with regulated fluid flow that allow C. elegansto perform crawling-like locomotion resembling normal behavior on agar surfaces. Stimuli are delivered in the fluid phase and odor-evoked behaviors in the arena are automatically captured, segmented and analyzed using the MATLAB scripts available here.

Publication:
Albrecht, D.R. & Bargmann, C.I. High-content behavioral analysis of Caenorhabditis elegans in precise spatiotemporal chemical environments. Nature Methods (2011), doi:10.1038/nmeth.1630

Photomask file:
A photomask file suitable for fabricating 22 mm arenas presenting chemical pulses, stripes, and gradients is available in Postscript (.eps) format. This file replaces Supplementary File 1 in the publication, which was slightly altered upon conversion. Please note that no AutoCAD (.dwg) version is currently available due to curve complexity. However, most print shops can produce photomasks from .eps formats.

MATLAB Tracking and Analysis scripts:
MATLAB scripts (m-files) accomplish the following basic tasks:

Video tracking, behavior segmentation, and data analysis were performed using MATLAB v7.0.1 with the Image Processing toolbox. Scripts have been tested on Windows XP and 7.

Contact:
dalbrecht@rockefeller.edu