Assemblage of Focal Species Recognizers—AFSR: A technique for decreasing false indications of presence from acoustic automatic identification in a multiple species context

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:Campos, Landers, Lee, Lee, Friesen, Gaskett, Ranjard
Secondary Authors:Higgs

Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) coupled with automated species identification is a prom- ising tool for species monitoring and conservation worldwide. However, high false indica- tions of presence are still an important limitation and a crucial factor for acceptance of these techniques in wildlife surveys. Here we present the Assemblage of Focal Species Recogniz- ers—AFSR, a novel approach for decreasing false positives and increasing models’ preci- sion in multispecies contexts. AFSR focusses on decreasing false positives by excluding unreliable sound file segments that are prone to misidentification. We used MatlabHTK, a hidden Markov models interface for bioacoustics analyses, for illustrating AFSR technique by comparing two approaches, 1) a multispecies recognizer where all species are identified simultaneously, and 2) an assemblage of focal species recognizers (AFSR), where several recognizers that each prioritise a single focal species are then summarised into a single out- put, according to a set of rules designed to exclude unreliable segments. Both approaches (the multispecies recognizer and AFSR) used the same sound files training dataset, but dif- ferent processing workflow. We applied these recognisers to PAM recordings from a remote island colony with five seabird species and compared their outputs with manual species identifications. False positives and precision improved for all the five species when using AFSR, achieving remarkable 0% false positives and 100% precision for three of five seabird species, and < 6% false positives, and >90% precision for the other two species. AFSR’ out- put was also used to generate daily calling activity patterns for each species. Instead of attempting to withdraw useful information from every fragment in a sound recording, AFSR prioritises more trustworthy information from sections with better quality data. AFSR can be applied to automated species identification from multispecies PAM recordings worldwide.

BioAcoustica ID: 
Non biological: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith