Anomalous diffusion on the servosphere: A potential tool for detecting inherent organismal movement patternsReport as inadecuate

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Tracking animal movements such as walking is an essential task for understanding how and why animals move in an environment and respond to external stimuli. Different methods that implemented image analysis and a data logger such as GPS have been used in laboratory experiments and in field studies, respectively. Recently, animal movement patterns without stimuli have attracted an increasing attention in search for common innate characteristics underlying all of their movements. However, it is difficult to track the movements in a vast and homogeneous environment without stimuli because of space constraints in laboratories or environmental heterogeneity in the field, hindering our understanding of inherent movement patterns. Here, we applied an omnidirectional treadmill mechanism, or a servosphere, as a tool for tracking two-dimensional movements of small animals that can provide both a homogenous environment and a virtual infinite space for walking. To validate the use of our tracking system for assessment of the free-walking behavior, we compared walking patterns of individual pillbugs Armadillidium vulgare on the servosphere with that in two types of experimental flat arenas. Our results revealed that the walking patterns on the servosphere showed similar diffusive characteristics to those observed in the large arena simulating an open space, and we demonstrated that our mechanism provides more robust measurements of diffusive properties compared to a small arena with enclosure. Moreover, we showed that anomalous diffusion properties, including Lévy walk, can be detected from the free-walking behavior on our tracking system. Thus, our novel tracking system is useful to measure inherent movement patterns, which will contribute to the studies of movement ecology, ethology, and behavioral sciences.

Author: Naohisa Nagaya , Nobuaki Mizumoto , Masato S. Abe, Shigeto Dobata, Ryota Sato, Ryusuke Fujisawa



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