Institute Seminar - Mara Thomas: A practical guide for generating unsupervised, spectrogram-based latent space representations of animal vocalizations

Institute Seminar Series

  • Date: Dec 14, 2021
  • Time: 10:30 - 11:30
  • Speaker: Mara Thomas
  • Location: Hybrid meeting
  • Room: Seminar room MPI-AB Möggingen + Online
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
  • Contact: all.science@ab.mpg.de
Institute Seminar - Mara Thomas: A practical guide for generating unsupervised, spectrogram-based latent space representations of animal vocalizations
The manual detection, analysis, and classification of animal vocalizations in acoustic recordings is laborious and requires expert knowledge. Hence, there is a need for objective, generalizable methods that detect underlying patterns in these data, categorize sounds into distinct groups, and quantify similarities between them. Among all computational methods that have been proposed to accomplish this, neighborhood-based dimensionality reduction of spectrograms to produce a latent-space representation of calls stands out for its conceptual simplicity and effectiveness. Using a dataset of manually annotated meerkat (Suricata suricatta) vocalizations, we demonstrate how this method can be used to obtain meaningful latent space representations that reflect the established taxonomy of call types. We analyze strengths and weaknesses of the proposed approach, give recommendations for its usage and show application examples, such as the classification of ambiguous calls and the detection of mislabeled calls. We provide example code to help researchers realize the potential of this method for the study of animal vocalizations.

Go to Editor View