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This project is essentially complete (apart from final publications), and was conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Computational Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. The project started in February 2010, was funded for 14 months by EPSRC. Dr. Chunmei Qing worked as a full-time RA on this project.

Seabird populations are important indicators of the health of marine environments. Variations in population size and behaviour can reflect changes in fish stock levels, pollution, and climate change. Ornithologists monitor the progress of important seabird colonies around the UK, but are limited in the data that they can gather using manual methods. The objectives of this pilot project were to develop digital image processing techniques which can automatically extract data about nesting birds from images/video. It is focussed on a specific colony of Guillemots which nest on Skomer Island in west Wales (UK).

The work focussed primarily on the use of background differencing techniques which are robust to dynamic processes (e.g. camera movement), combined with low level feature descriptors to differentiate between birds and background rocks. We are still preparing final results for publication; however, preliminary publications (available on eprints) are listed here:

C. Qing, P. Dickinson, S. Lawson, R. Freeman. Automatic nesting seabird detection based on boosted HoG-LBP descriptors. IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, September 2011, Brussels.

C. Qing, P. Dickinson, S. Lawson, R. Freeman,. Autonomous monitoring of nesting seabirds using computer vision. World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, September 2011, Aberdeen.

C. Qing, P. Dickinson, S. Lawson, R. Freeman. Automated Visual Surveillance of a Population of Nesting Seabirds, ASAB Easter Conference, April 2011, Cambridge, UK.

P. Dickinson, A. Hunter and K. Appiah. Segmenting video foreground using a multi-class MRF. International Conference of Pattern Recognition (ICPR), August 2010, Istanbul.

P. Dickinson, C. Qing, S. Lawson and R. Freeman . Automated visual monitoring of nesting seabirds. Workshop on visual observation and analysis of animal and insect behaviour (VAIB), August 2010, Istanbul.

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