Megapixel camera arrays enable high-resolution animal tracking in multiwell plates

Ida L. Barlow, Luigi Feriani, Eleni Minga, Adam McDermott-Rouse, Thomas James O’Brien, Ziwei Liu, Maximilian Hofbauer, John R. Stowers, Erik C. Andersen, Siyu Serena Ding, André E.X. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tracking small laboratory animals such as flies, fish, and worms is used for phenotyping in neuroscience, genetics, disease modelling, and drug discovery. An imaging system with sufficient throughput and spatiotemporal resolution would be capable of imaging a large number of animals, estimating their pose, and quantifying detailed behavioural differences at a scale where hundreds of treatments could be tested simultaneously. Here we report an array of six 12-megapixel cameras that record all the wells of a 96-well plate with sufficient resolution to estimate the pose of C. elegans worms and to extract high-dimensional phenotypic fingerprints. We use the system to study behavioural variability across wild isolates, the sensitisation of worms to repeated blue light stimulation, the phenotypes of worm disease models, and worms’ behavioural responses to drug treatment. Because the system is compatible with standard multiwell plates, it makes computational ethological approaches accessible in existing high-throughput pipelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number253
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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