Deep Learning Classification of Lake Zooplankton

08/11/2021
by   S. P. Kyathanahally, et al.
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Plankton are effective indicators of environmental change and ecosystem health in freshwater habitats, but collection of plankton data using manual microscopic methods is extremely labor-intensive and expensive. Automated plankton imaging offers a promising way forward to monitor plankton communities with high frequency and accuracy in real-time. Yet, manual annotation of millions of images proposes a serious challenge to taxonomists. Deep learning classifiers have been successfully applied in various fields and provided encouraging results when used to categorize marine plankton images. Here, we present a set of deep learning models developed for the identification of lake plankton, and study several strategies to obtain optimal performances,which lead to operational prescriptions for users. To this aim, we annotated into 35 classes over 17900 images of zooplankton and large phytoplankton colonies, detected in Lake Greifensee (Switzerland) with the Dual Scripps Plankton Camera. Our best models were based on transfer learning and ensembling, which classified plankton images with 98 freely available plankton datasets produced by other automated imaging tools (ZooScan, FlowCytobot and ISIIS), our models performed better than previously used models. Our annotated data, code and classification models are freely available online.

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