M2 Blog

New project uses image classification

AI Enriches M2 Data

Posted by M2 Team

February 15, 2024

Researchers at Beam Reach in Washington state are using M2 and underwater hydrophones to study vessel noise pollution  in Haro Strait — a major channel between the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Georgia — that is critical habitat for the endangered southern resident killer whale population. In 2022, they launched the Orca-Eye-Aye project, which uses AI tools to automatically identify ships and boats in Haro Strait from photos captured by M2. The ultimate goal of the Orca-Eye-Aye project is for an AI model to detect and classify vessels by their size and type. Led by intern, Ze Cui, the team will release the first version of the publicly available data set, open-source code, and AI models in the coming weeks.  

The AI classification of M2 photos helps identify vessels and ultimately their noise pollution in the marine environment, aiding scientists in understanding the impacts of underwater sound. For example, these data can reveal how noise from smaller boats, less studied than larger ships, affects marine life. Learn more about Beam Reach and Orcasound hydrophone network’s vessel noise studies here.

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