SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2000

Computer Tracking Method for Assessing Behavioral Changes in the Nematode C


Computer tracking of Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living soil nematode, is a promising tool to assess behavioral changes upon exposure to contaminants. A short life cycle, a known genetic make-up, thoroughly studied behavior, and a completely mapped nervous system make C. elegans an attractive soil test organism with many advantages over the commonly used earthworm. Although many toxicity tests have been performed with C. elegans, the majority focused on mortality, a much less sensitive endpoint than behavior. A computer tracking system has been developed to monitor behavioral changes using C. elegans. Because conditions unrelated to specific toxicant exposures, such as changes in temperature, developmental stage, and presence of adequate food sources, can affect behavior, there is a need to standardize tracking procedures. To this end, we have developed reference charts for control movement comparing the movement of four and five day old adult nematodes. The use of K-medium versus deionized (DI) H2O for pretracking rinses was also investigated. A final reference chart compared the behavioral responses of nematodes at various food densities (i.e. bacterial concentrations).

Author Information

Boyd, WA
The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anderson, GL
The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Dusenbery, DB
School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Williams, PL
The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 225–238
DOI: 10.1520/STP14426S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5430-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2861-3