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Make the CPUs do the hard work - Automated acoustic feature extraction and visualization for marine ecoacoustics applications illustrated using marine mammal Passive Acoustic Monitoring datasets
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  • Simone Cominelli,
  • Nicolo' Bellin,
  • Carissa Brown,
  • Valeria Rossi,
  • Jack Lawson
Simone Cominelli
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nicolo' Bellin
Università degli Studi di Parma
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Carissa Brown
Memorial University of Newfoundland
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Valeria Rossi
Università degli Studi di Parma
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Jack Lawson
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Region
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1. Passive Acoustic Monitoring is emerging as a solution for monitoring species and environmental change over large spatial and temporal scales. However, drawing rigorous conclusions based on acoustic recordings is challenging, as there is no consensus over which approaches and indices are best suited for characterizing marine acoustic environments. 2. We present an alternative to the use of ecoacoustic indices and describe the application of multiple machine learning techniques to the analysis of a large PAM dataset. We combine pre-trained acoustic classification models, dimensionality reduction, and random forest algorithms to demonstrate how machine-learned acoustic features capture different aspects of the marine environment. We processed two PAM databases and conducted 13 trials showing how acoustic features can be used to: i) discriminate between the vocalizations of marine mammals, beginning with high-level taxonomic groups, and extending to detecting differences between conspecifics belonging to distinct populations; ii) discriminating amongst different marine environments; and iii) detecting and monitoring anthropogenic and biological sound sources. 3. Acoustic features and their UMAP projections exhibited good performance in the classification of marine mammal vocalizations. Most of the taxonomic levels investigated here could be classified using the UMAP projections, apart from species that were underrepresented. Both anthropogenic (ships and airguns) and biological (humpback whales) sound sources could also be identified in field recordings. 4. We argue that acoustic feature extraction, visualization, and analysis allows the retention of most of the environmental information contained in PAM recordings, overcoming the limitations encountered when using ecoacoustics indices. Acoustic features are universal, permitting comparisons of results collected from multiple environments. Our approach can be used to simultaneously investigate the macro and micro characteristics of marine soundscapes, with a more objective method and with far less human effort.
24 Aug 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
25 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
25 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
26 Aug 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Dec 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Jan 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Sep 20231st Revision Received
21 Oct 2023Submission Checks Completed
21 Oct 2023Assigned to Editor
21 Oct 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor