Recent Published Articles

Developing a novel quantitative parameter for characterizing spatial distribution of fish following exposure to chemicals and wastewater: Behavioral Gini coefficient

Zhanfen Qin , Xuanyue Chen , Yuanyuan Li


Received December 15, 2022,Revised , Accepted June 02, 2023, Available online June 10, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 129-138

While the spatial distribution pattern of fish is increasingly used for toxicological test of chemicals or wastewater, no ideal parameter is available for quantitative assessment of spatial distribution, especially uneven distribution with multiple hotspots. Here, to develop a quantitative assessment parameter for spatial distribution, the zebrafish were exposed to ethanol, pentylenetetrazole (PTZ), paraquat dichloride (paraquat) and wastewater, followed by a behavioral test in a narrow tank. Behavioral data was acquired and analyzed by idTracker and MATLAB. By comparing the effects of all treatments on behavior parameters, we confirmed that the spatial distribution was more easily altered rather than general locomotor parameters, e.g. 0.7–70 mg/L PTZ and 5–20 mg/L paraquat being effective for altering spatial distribution but having little effects on general locomotor parameters. Based on the heatmap, i.e., the cumulative proportion of grids and that of frequency in grids, we calculated the behavioral Gini coefficient (Gb) for quantitative assessment of fish spatial distribution. The Gini coefficient ranged from zero to 1, with larger values meaning poorer evenness of spatial distribution. Of note, Gb showed smaller coefficient of variations (CV) with 3%-19% between replicate tanks in all treatments than the highest frequency (4%-79%), displaying well robustness. Especially, Gb addressed the challenge of the complicated heatmap with multiple hotspots. Overall, the behavioral Gini coefficient we established is an ideal parameter to quantitatively assess spatial distribution of fish shoal, which is expected to be applied in toxicity testing for chemicals and wastewater and automatic quality monitoring for surface water and aquaculture water.

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