The role of individual variability on the predictive performance of machine learning applied to large bio-logging datasets

Animal-borne tagging (bio-logging) generates large and complex datasets. In particular, accelerometer tags, which provide information on behaviour and energy expenditure of wild animals, produce high-resolution multi-dimensional data, and can be challenging to analyse. We tested the performance of commonly used artificial intelligence tools on datasets of increasing volume and dimensionality. By collecting bio-logging data across several sampling seasons, datasets are inherently characterized by inter-individual variability. Such information should be considered when predicting behaviour. We integrated both unsupervised and supervised machine learning approaches to predict behaviours in two penguin species. The classified behaviours obtained from the unsupervised approach Expectation Maximisation were used to train the supervised approach Random Forest. We assessed agreement between the approaches, the performance of Random Forest on unknown data and the implications for the calculation of energy expenditure. Consideration of behavioural variability resulted in high agreement (> 80%) in behavioural classifications and minimal differences in energy expenditure estimates. However, some outliers with < 70% of agreement, highlighted how behaviours characterized by signal similarity are confused. We advise the broad bio-logging community, approaching these large datasets, to be cautious when upscaling predictions, as this might lead to less accurate estimates of behaviour and energy expenditure.


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Authors: Chimienti, Marianna, Kato, Akiko, Hicks, Olivia, Angelier, Frédéric, Beaulieu, Michaël, Ouled-Cheikh, Jazel, Marciau, Coline, Raclot, Thierry, Tucker, Meagan, Wisniewska, Danuta Maria, Chiaradia, André, Ropert-Coudert, Yan

On this site: Olivia Hicks
17 November, 2022
Scientific Reports / 12
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