European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 647–654

A new way of tracking motion, shape, and divisions

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00249-013-0912-2

Cite this article as:
Idema, T. Eur Biophys J (2013) 42: 647. doi:10.1007/s00249-013-0912-2


The process of detecting and tracking biological features such as bacteria and nuclei is complicated by the fact that they constantly change their shape. Shape changes happen both continuously as the biological features grow and discontinuously as they divide or die. In this paper I present a new method of tracking such features for the case that they can be reasonably approximated by a relatively simple mathematical shape such as a cylinder or an ellipse. Using contour plots with multiple levels to detect the features and their shapes, rather than the commonly used single contour detection technique, this method can efficiently detect multiple features even if they have large differences in brightness, as well as reliably track divisions when both brightness and size drop dramatically.


Image analysis Feature detection Tracking Cell lineage reconstruction 

Supplementary material

249_2013_912_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
PDF (1146 KB)

Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bionanoscience, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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