Deep Learning Applied to Animal Linguistics

Deep Learning Applied to Animal Linguistics

(FAU Funds)

Overall project:
Project leader: ,
Project members: , , ,
Start date: April 1, 2018
End date: April 1, 2022
Acronym: DeepAL
Funding source:


Deep Learning Applied to Animal Linguistics in particular the analysis of underwater audio recordings of marine animals (killer whales):

For marine biologists, the interpretation and understanding of underwater audio recordings is essential. Based on such recordings, possible conclusions about behaviour, communication and social interactions of marine animals can be made. Despite a large number of biological studies on the subject of orca vocalizations, it is still difficult to recognize a structure or semantic/syntactic significance of orca signals in order to be able to derive any language and/or behavioral patterns. Due to a lack of techniques and computational tools, hundreds of hours of underwater recordings are still manually verified by marine biologists in order to detect potential orca vocalizations. In a post process these identified orca signals are analyzed and categorized. One of the main goals is to provide a robust and automatic method which is able to automatically detect orca calls within underwater audio recordings. A robust detection of orca signals is the baseline for any further and deeper analysis. Call type identification and classification based on pre-segmented signals can be used in order to derive semantic and syntactic patterns. In connection with the associated situational video recordings and behaviour descriptions (provided by several researchers on site) can provide potential information about communication (kind of a language model) and behaviors (e.g. hunting, socializing). Furthermore, orca signal detection can be used in conjunction with a localization software in order to provide researchers on the field with a more efficient way of searching the animals as well as individual recognition.

For more information about the DeepAL project please contact