Marine biologist Lisa Steiner has been part of the team developing a machine learning AI fluke matching programme for sperm whales in the Azores.
the best way to identify a sperm whale is to look for unique patterns, shapes or scars on their fluke as each fluke is unique to the individual whale – much like our own fingerprints. The only problem is scanning through thousands of photos which vary in quality can be extremely time consuming and not always reliable if the shots are taken from distance. That’s why Lisa’s technology could be a huge step in the right direction for tracking sperm whales’ migration routes, as it allows automatic identification of the whales being photographed.
Understanding the migration routes and behaviours of the whales is becoming increasingly important in a time where whale numbers are becoming threatened.