News Round-Up

Listening for right whales in the ocean deeps


Scientists are using algorithms and machine learning to listen for the distinct calls of one of the world’s most endangered animals in a bid to identify where they are and shield them from one of their greatest threats.

Researchers at Dalhousie used a deep neural network trained on thousands of recordings of North Atlantic right whale calls that were collected in the Gulf of St. Lawrence over two years.

The team, which published the findings Monday (April 27) in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, used algorithms combined with validation by experts to select out the whales’ telltale upcalls and trained the network to identify the calls as those of a right whale.

They had a success rate of about 90 per cent when it came to identifying the whales’ upcall — a short whoop that lasts about one second and is thought to be what brings whales together. MORE

Header image: right whale and calf. Credit: Public Domain image, NOAA

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