Audio_4_Listening to Lions: Animal-Borne Acoustic Sensors Improve Bio-logger Calibration and Behaviour Classification Performance.WAV
Efforts to better understand patterns of animal behaviour have often been restricted by several environmental, human and experimental limitations associated with the collection of animal behavioural data. The introduction of new bio-logging technology has offered an alternative means of recording animal behaviour continuously and is being used in an increasing number of studies. Accurately calibrating these bio-loggers, however, still remains a challenge in many cases. Using lions as an example species, we test how audio recordings from animal-borne acoustic sensors can improve calibration and behaviour classification. Through a collaborative effort between computer scientists, engineers, and zoologists, custom designed acoustic bio-loggers were fitted to eight lions and recorded audio simultaneously with accelerometer and magnetometer data. Audio recordings were then used as the source of ground truth to train random forest classification models as well as to provide additional predictor variables for behaviour classification. We demonstrated near-perfect classification performance for five lion behaviour classes when all component variables were combined, with an average per-class precision of 98.5%. Using accelerometer features only, the audio-trained classifier predicted behaviours with an average per-class precision of 94.3%. On-animal audio recordings are therefore able to provide a valuable source of ground-truth for calibrating bio-loggers while also offering additional predictive features for increasing the accuracy of behaviour classification. This technological innovation has wide ranging application and provides a useful tool for behavioural ecologists wishing to collect fine scale behavioural data for animal research and conservation.
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