HALLO formed and began research efforts in 2019. Since then, we’ve been working on several objectives that work towards developing the real-time whale forecasting system in the Salish Sea.
Visit the Southern Resident Killer Whale Call Catalogue!
Researchers are currently aiming to “teach” artificial intelligence systems to recognize the sounds of resident killer whales in order to develop a warning system for preventing ships from fatally striking endangered orcas off British Columbia’s coast.
Data used to train artificial intelligence systems come from various sources: from hydrophone nodes located near shipping lanes, to the contributions of Citizen Scientists and projects like the Orcasound project.
The catalogue website shares a curated collection of orca acoustics and annotations which represent the type of samples used in machine learning datasets. The samples in the catalogue demonstrate the complexity of communication within pods.
These samples have been gathered through decades of research by Dr. John Ford, scientist emeritus, and former head of cetacean research at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Biological Station.
Our team has developed models that identify the source of underwater sounds. For example, we have a binary classification model that classifies sounds into one of two categories - the sound was made by a Killer whale or the sound was not made by a Killer whale. These models were developed with data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, JASCO, SMRU, … .
Check out these open source models on our public GitHub repository. There you can find instructions, scripts, and configuration files required to train deep learning models at detecting and classifying vocalisations made by Killer whales.
Our team is also developing models that will ultimately be able to forecast whale locations based on hydrophone detections, visual observations from citizen science groups, and environmental data. This system will allow us to alert nearby ship captains, shipping ports, and … when a whale is forecasted to be entering their path and risk-reducing measures can be taken to limit disturbance to the whales.
Outreach & Engagement
We hosted a ‘Bioacoustics Workshop’ in August of 2022 to faciliate engagement both within the HALLO group and the wider community. Topics discussed range from whale sightings and conservation to the application of using deep learning models to identify whale calls.
Links to the full list of video recordings & slide presentations can be found here