New interactive machine learning tool for marine image analysis

H. Poppy Clark*, Abraham George Smith, Daniel McKay Fletcher, Ann I. Larsson, Marcel Jaspars, Laurence H. De Clippele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Advancing imaging technologies are drastically increasing the rate of marine video and image data collection. Often these datasets are not analysed to their full potential as extracting information for multiple species is incredibly time-consuming. This study demonstrates the capability of the open-source interactive machine learning tool, RootPainter, to analyse large marine image datasets quickly and accurately. The ability of RootPainter to extract the presence and surface area of the cold-water coral reef associate sponge species, Mycale lingua, was tested in two datasets: 18 346 time-lapse images and 1420 remotely operated vehicle video frames. New corrective annotation metrics integrated with RootPainter allow objective assessment of when to stop model training and reduce the need for manual model validation. Three highly accurate M. lingua models were created using RootPainter, with an average dice score of 0.94 ± 0.06. Transfer learning aided the production of two of the models, increasing analysis efficiency from 6 to 16 times faster than manual annotation for time-lapse images. Surface area measurements were extracted from both datasets allowing future investigation of sponge behaviours and distributions. Moving forward, interactive machine learning tools and model sharing could dramatically increase image analysis speeds, collaborative research and our understanding of spatiotemporal patterns in biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number231678
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number5
Early online date29 May 2024
Publication statusFirst published - 29 May 2024

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  • marine image analysis
  • automated area measurement
  • computer vision
  • interactive machine learning
  • RootPainter
  • benthic ecology


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