We postulate that significant environmental effects such as altered motor functions, physiological alterations reflected in heart rate, effects on development and reproduction can occur at sub-lethal concentrations well below than LC10. Behavioral studies can, therefore, provide a valuable integrative link between physiological and ecological effects. Despite the advantages of behavioral analysis development of behavioral toxicity, biotests is greatly hampered by the lack of dedicated laboratory automation, in particular, user-friendly and automated video microscopy systems.
In this work we present a proof-of-concept development of an optical system capable of tracking embryonic vertebrates behavioral responses using automated and vastly miniaturized time-resolved video-microscopy. We have employed miniaturized CMOS cameras to perform high definition video recording and analysis of earliest vertebrate behavioral responses. The main objective was to develop a biocompatible embryo positioning structures that were suitable for high-throughput imaging as well as video capture and video analysis algorithms. This system should support the development of sub-lethal and behavioral markers for accelerated environmental monitoring.