Automatic classification of animal vocalizations

Patrick J Clemins, Marquette University


Bioacoustics, the study of animal vocalizations, has begun to use increasingly sophisticated analysis techniques in recent years. Some common tasks in bioacoustics are repertoire determination, call detection, individual identification, stress detection, and behavior correlation. Each research study, however, uses a wide variety of different measured variables, called features, and classification systems to accomplish these tasks. The well-established field of human speech processing has developed a number of different techniques to perform many of the aforementioned bioacoustics tasks. Melfrequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and perceptual linear prediction (PLP) coefficients are two popular feature sets. The hidden Markov model (HMM), a statistical model similar to a finite autonoma machine, is the most commonly used supervised classification model and is capable of modeling both temporal and spectral variations. This research designs a framework that applies models from human speech processing for bioacoustic analysis tasks. The development of the generalized perceptual linear prediction (gPLP) feature extraction model is one of the more important novel contributions of the framework. Perceptual information from the species under study can be incorporated into the gPLP feature extraction model to represent the vocalizations as the animals might perceive them. By including this perceptual information and modifying parameters of the HMM classification system, this framework can be applied to a wide range of species. The effectiveness of the framework is shown by analyzing African elephant and beluga whale vocalizations. The features extracted from the African elephant data are used as input to a supervised classification system and compared to results from traditional statistical tests. The gPLP features extracted from the beluga whale data are used in an unsupervised classification system and the results are compared to labels assigned by experts. The development of a framework from which to build animal vocalization classifiers will provide bioacoustics researchers with a consistent platform to analyze and classify vocalizations. A common framework will also allow studies to compare results across species and institutions. In addition, the use of automated classification techniques can speed analysis and uncover behavioral correlations not readily apparent using traditional techniques.

Recommended Citation

Clemins, Patrick J, "Automatic classification of animal vocalizations" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3172488.