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Leveraging Transfer Learning and Active Learning for Sound Event Detection in Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Wildlife

Hannes Kath; Patricia P. Serafini; Ivan Braga Campos; Thiago Gouvea; Daniel Sonntag
In: 3rd Annual AAAI Workshop on AI to Accelerate Science and Engineering. AAAI Workshop on AI to Accelerate Science and Engineering (AI2ASE-2024), located at AAAI, February 26, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2024.


Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) has emerged as a pivotal technology for wildlife monitoring, generating vast amounts of acoustic data. However, the successful application of machine learning methods for sound event detection in PAM datasets heavily relies on the availability of annotated data, which can be laborious to acquire. In this study, we investigate the effectiveness of transfer learning and active learning techniques to address the data annotation challenge in PAM. Transfer learning allows us to use pre-trained models from related tasks or datasets to bootstrap the learning process for sound event detection. Furthermore, active learning promises strategic selection of the most informative samples for annotation, effectively reducing the annotation cost and improving model performance. We evaluate an approach that combines transfer learning and active learning to efficiently exploit existing annotated data and optimize the annotation process for PAM datasets. Our transfer learning observations show that embeddings produced by BirdNet, a model trained on high signal-to-noise recordings of bird vocalisations, can be effectively used for predicting anurans in PAM data: a linear classifier constructed using these embeddings outperforms the benchmark by 21.7%. Our results indicate that active learning is superior to random sampling, although no clear winner emerges among the strategies employed. The proposed method holds promise for facilitating broader adoption of machine learning techniques in PAM and advancing our understanding of biodiversity dynamics through acoustic data analysis.

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