WERC Scientists Combine Bird Calls and Artificial Intelligence to Keep Tabs on the Elusive Ashy-Storm Petrel (Audubon magazine)

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CALIFORNIA COAST – Artificial intelligence and acoustic sensors help scientists monitor seabirds

WERC scientists were featured in an Audubon magazine article about how acoustic monitoring and artificial intelligence are making seabird monitoring both easier and more comprehensive. The article focuses on the WERC Seabird Studies team’s research on the elusive Ashy-Storm Petrel along the California Coast. The WERC team used acoustic sensors to record bird calls throughout the breeding season, producing thousands of hours of audio data. With the assistance of partners at Conservation Metrics, Inc., the researchers used artificial intelligence to sort through the recordings and pick out the calls of different seabird species. This technology allowed the scientists to detect the presence and absence of the Ashy-Storm Petrel over the course of the season. The Audubon article highlights how the WERC team’s acoustic monitoring and artificial intelligence approach may be used more generally for seabird conservation in California. The research is now being used to help develop a multi-agency Ashy-Storm Petrel management plan. Applying artificial intelligence to ecological questions is a great example of how USGS science uses high-tech tools to provide critical information to resource managers.

For more information on WERC’s Ashy-Storm petrel research, check out the project webpage.

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Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ashy Storm-Petrel Range and Colony Attendance Behavior

Together with Federal and non-profit partners, WERC's Josh Adams and team are using cutting-edge technology to study the range and colony attendance patterns of the Ashy Storm-Petrel, an elusive seabird native to  offshore rocks and islands along the California coast. Their research  informs management and conservation for this threatened seabird species.

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