Monitoring the natural environment is increasingly important as habit degradation and climate change reduce the world's biodiversity. We have developed software tools and applications to assist ecologists with the collection and analysis of acoustic data at large spatial and temporal scales. One of our key objectives is automated animal call recognition, and our approach has three novel attributes. First, we work with raw environmental audio, contaminated by noise and artefacts and containing calls that vary greatly in volume depending on the animal's proximity to the microphone. Second, initial experimentation suggested that no single recognizer could deal with the enormous variety of calls. Therefore, we developed a toolbox of generic recognizers to extract invariant features for each call type. Third, many species are cryptic and offer little data with which to train a recognizer. Many popular machine learning methods require large volumes of training and validation data and considerable time and expertise to prepare. Consequently we adopt bootstrap techniques that can be initiated with little data and refined subsequently. In this paper, we describe our recognition tools and present results for real ecological problems.
environmental acoustic analysis, automated animal call recognition, sensor networks
Michael Towsey, Birgit Planitz, Alfredo Nantes, Jason Wimmer, Paul Roe (2012). A toolbox for animal call recognition Bioacoustics 21(2):107-125