Perspectives in machine learning for wildlife conservation

Devis Tuia*, Benjamin Kellenberger, Sara Beery, Blair R Costelloe, Silvia Zuffi, Benjamin Risse, Alexander Mathis, Mackenzie Weygandt Mathis, Frank van Langevelde, Tilo Burghardt, Roland Kays, Holger Klinck, Martin Wikelski, Iain D Couzin, Grant van Horn, Margaret C Crofoot, Charles V Stewart, Tanya Berger-Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)
235 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Data acquisition in animal ecology is rapidly accelerating due to inexpensive and accessible sensors such as smartphones, drones, satellites, audio recorders and bio-logging devices. These new technologies and the data they generate hold great potential for large-scale environmental monitoring and understanding, but are limited by current data processing approaches which are inefficient in how they ingest, digest, and distill data into relevant information. We argue that machine learning, and especially deep learning approaches, can meet this analytic challenge to enhance our understanding, monitoring capacity, and conservation of wildlife species. Incorporating machine learning into ecological workflows could improve inputs for population and behavior models and eventually lead to integrated hybrid modeling tools, with ecological models acting as constraints for machine learning models and the latter providing data-supported insights. In essence, by combining new machine learning approaches with ecological domain knowledge, animal ecologists can capitalize on the abundance of data generated by modern sensor technologies in order to reliably estimate population abundances, study animal behavior and mitigate human/wildlife conflicts. To succeed, this approach will require close collaboration and cross-disciplinary education between the computer science and animal ecology communities in order to ensure the quality of machine learning approaches and train a new generation of data scientists in ecology and conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number792
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date9 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Mike Costelloe for assistance with figure design and execution. S.B. would like to thank the Microsoft AI for Earth initiative, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Wildlife Protection Solutions for insightful discussions and providing data for figures. M.C.C. and T.B.W. were supported by the National Science Foundation (IIS 1514174 & IOS 1250895). M.C.C. received additional support from a Packard Foundation Fellowship (2016-65130), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. C.V.S. and T.B.W. were supported by the US National Science Foundation (Awards 1453555 and 1550853). S.B. was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1745301 and the Caltech Resnick Sustainability Institute. I.D.C. acknowledges support from the ONR (N00014-19-1-2556), and I.D.C., B.R.C., M.W., and M.C.C. from, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) under Germany?s Excellence Strategy-EXC 2117-422037984. M.W.M. is the Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Integrative Neuroscience. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.

Funding Information:
We thank Mike Costelloe for assistance with figure design and execution. S.B. would like to thank the Microsoft AI for Earth initiative, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Wildlife Protection Solutions for insightful discussions and providing data for figures. M.C.C. and T.B.W. were supported by the National Science Foundation (IIS 1514174 & IOS 1250895). M.C.C. received additional support from a Packard Foundation Fellowship (2016-65130), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. C.V.S. and T.B.W. were supported by the US National Science Foundation (Awards 1453555 and 1550853). S.B. was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1745301 and the Caltech Resnick Sustainability Institute. I.D.C. acknowledges support from the ONR (N00014-19-1-2556), and I.D.C., B.R.C., M.W., and M.C.C. from, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy-EXC 2117-422037984. M.W.M. is the Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Integrative Neuroscience. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • computer vision
  • animal biometrics
  • conservation
  • machine learning
  • remote sensing
  • artifical intelligence

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives in machine learning for wildlife conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this