Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/48237
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Type: Journal article
Title: Spot the match - wildlife photo-identification using information theory
Author: Speed, C.
Meekan, M.
Bradshaw, C.
Citation: Frontiers in Zoology, 2007; 4(2):1-11
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 1742-9994
1742-9994
Abstract: <h4>Background</h4>Effective approaches for the management and conservation of wildlife populations require a sound knowledge of population demographics, and this is often only possible through mark-recapture studies. We applied an automated spot-recognition program (I3S) for matching natural markings of wildlife that is based on a novel information-theoretic approach to incorporate matching uncertainty. Using a photo-identification database of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) as an example case, the information criterion (IC) algorithm we developed resulted in a parsimonious ranking of potential matches of individuals in an image library. Automated matches were compared to manual-matching results to test the performance of the software and algorithm.<h4>Results</h4>Validation of matched and non-matched images provided a threshold IC weight (approximately 0.2) below which match certainty was not assured. Most images tested were assigned correctly; however, scores for the by-eye comparison were lower than expected, possibly due to the low sample size. The effect of increasing horizontal angle of sharks in images reduced matching likelihood considerably. There was a negative linear relationship between the number of matching spot pairs and matching score, but this relationship disappeared when using the IC algorithm.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The software and use of easily applied information-theoretic scores of match parsimony provide a reliable and freely available method for individual identification of wildlife, with wide applications and the potential to improve mark-recapture studies without resorting to invasive marking techniques.
Rights: © 2007 Speed et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-4-2
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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