Infrared tomographic PIV and 3D motion tracking system applied to aquatic predator-prey interaction

Deepak Adhikari, Ellen K. Longmire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Infrared tomographic PIV and 3D motion tracking are combined to measure evolving volumetric velocity fields and organism trajectories during aquatic predator-prey interactions. The technique was used to study zebrafish foraging on both non-evasive and evasive prey species. Measurement volumes of 22.5 mm × 10.5 mm × 12 mm were reconstructed from images captured on a set of four high-speed cameras. To obtain accurate fluid velocity vectors within each volume, fish were first masked out using an automated visual hull method. Fish and prey locations were identified independently from the same image sets and tracked separately within the measurement volume. Experiments demonstrated that fish were not influenced by the infrared laser illumination or the tracer particles. Results showed that the zebrafish used different strategies, suction and ram feeding, for successful capture of non-evasive and evasive prey, respectively. The two strategies yielded different variations in fluid velocity between the fish mouth and the prey. In general, the results suggest that the local flow field, the direction of prey locomotion with respect to the predator and the relative accelerations and speeds of the predator and prey may all be significant in determining predation success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024011
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • fish swimming
  • infrared laser
  • particle tracking
  • tomographic PIV
  • visual hull


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