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New Software Will Standardize Data Collection for Great White Sharks


Identifin software.

Stellenbosch University researchers collaborated on software that helps researchers collect and manage data on great white sharks.

Credit: Sara Andreotti

Researchers at Stellenbosch University in South Africa collaborated on software that helps researchers collect and manage data on great white sharks spotted along the coast.

Marine biologist Sara Andreotti previously built a database containing more than 5,000 images of the dorsal fins of sharks.

The new image-recognition software, Identifin, uses the dynamic time-warping algorithm technique to find similarities in dorsal fin shapes. Identifin traces the patterns on the edge of the fin and compares them with existing images in the database, then arranges and ranks images to show the most probable matches.

"The software had to be capable of quickly matching the fin identification of a newly photographed shark with a possible existing match in the database, and to automatically update the sharks' ID catalog," Andreotti notes.

The lack of standardization of data collection has been a major challenge for marine biologists seeking to combine global datasets.

From Stellenbosch University
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