Artificial Intelligence: AI Deployed To Carry Out Sound Surveys Of The Ocean

A decade-long, US$50 million project had scientists collaborating across numerous international organizations, universities, and even military entities to collect nearly 4,000 marine sounds recordings across the globe.

Scientists have made a major breakthrough in using algorithms to identify marine life sounds in the ocean. Instead of relying on human interpretation, researchers recorded underwater sounds and used an algorithm to quickly identify species in a matter of minutes.

The International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE), a global collaboration of scientists, praised the use of machine learning for marine sounds, describing it as “groundbreaking”.

Over a 10-year project, scientists collected thousands of recordings from different locations around the world using a kind of microphones known as hydrophones.

The sounds assist researchers in assessing the effects of noise on marine environments, spanning from coral reefs to mangrove forests, from orcas to plankton, and encompassing activities such as oil and gas exploration, shipping, tourism, storms, and even nuclear explosions. Investigations have been conducted to determine if ships are disrupting humpback whale communication near Colombia, and collaborations with the US navy have focused on studying seven marine sanctuaries in the US, including Hawaii.

The goal is to establish an acoustic baseline for different soundscapes, monitor species distribution, and detect climate-related disasters in advance.

The technology may also aid in identifying new and undiscovered species in the future.

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Image Credit: Flickr

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