DataSheet_3_Rise of the Machines: Best Practices and Experimental Evaluation of Computer-Assisted Dorsal Fin Image Matching Systems for Bottlenose Dol.pdf (329.49 kB)
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DataSheet_3_Rise of the Machines: Best Practices and Experimental Evaluation of Computer-Assisted Dorsal Fin Image Matching Systems for Bottlenose Dolphins.pdf

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posted on 07.04.2022, 12:30 by Reny B. Tyson Moore, Kim W. Urian, Jason B. Allen, Carolyn Cush, Jason R. Parham, Drew Blount, Jason Holmberg, Jamie W. Thompson, Randall S. Wells

Photographic-identification (photo-ID) of bottlenose dolphins using individually distinctive features on the dorsal fin is a well-established and useful tool for tracking individuals; however, this method can be labor-intensive, especially when dealing with large catalogs and/or infrequently surveyed populations. Computer vision algorithms have been developed that can find a fin in an image, characterize the features of the fin, and compare the fin to a catalog of known individuals to generate a ranking of potential matches based on dorsal fin similarity. We examined if and how researchers use computer vision systems in their photo-ID process and developed an experiment to evaluate the performance of the most commonly used, recently developed, systems to date using a long-term photo-ID database of known individuals curated by the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Survey results obtained for the “Rise of the machines – Application of automated systems for matching dolphin dorsal fins: current status and future directions” workshop held at the 2019 World Marine Mammal Conference indicated that most researchers still rely on manual methods for comparing unknown dorsal fin images to reference catalogs of known individuals. Experimental evaluation of the finFindR R application, as well as the CurvRank, CurvRank v2, and finFindR implementations in Flukebook suggest that high match rates can be achieved with these systems, with the highest match rates found when only good to excellent quality images of fins with average to high distinctiveness are included in the matching process: for the finFindR R application and the CurvRank and CurvRank v2 algorithms within Flukebook more than 98.92% of correct matches were in the top 50-ranked positions, and more than 91.94% of correct matches were returned in the first ranked position. Our results offer the first comprehensive examination into the performance and accuracy of computer vision algorithms designed to assist with the photo-ID process of bottlenose dolphins and can be used to build trust by researchers hesitant to use these systems. Based on our findings and discussions from the “Rise of the Machines” workshop we provide recommendations for best practices for using computer vision systems for dorsal fin photo-ID.

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