Ecologists may soon be able to collect large quantities of behavioural data on nesting seabirds using automated surveillance computer vision techniques.
This is the hope of researchers at Microsoft Research’s Computational Ecology and Environmental Science group (CEES) who are working with ornithologists from the Evolutionary Biology and Behavioural Ecology group at
The researchers at CEES have now teamed up with
The teams aim to use these algorithms to monitor a population of Common Guillemots and automatically analyse video data of the birds in their cliff nesting area on
Existing methods use manual inspection to estimate the size of the population. However, this is a labour-intensive process and does not provide detailed data about individual birds, placing severe limitations on further analysis of their population.
According to the researchers, the investigation will allow ecologists to analyse new data on the relationship between chick survival and nest attendance. The collaboration with
The researchers claim that while the project is focused primarily on the Skomer Guillemots, the proposed techniques could be deployed for monitoring other seabird species, and also used to support other applications of computer vision.
The £96,000 project is due to begin next month and will be completed by the end of November 2010.