Whale Recognition Software To Aid Researchers

A new algorithm can identify right whale “faces,” or tissue patterns on the top of their heads, to help researchers track and protect them. This right whale, No. 1706 in New England Aquarium's North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog, has not yet been given a name. Christin Khan, NOAA/NEFSC
A new algorithm can identify right whale “faces,” or tissue patterns on the top of their heads, to help researchers track and protect them. This right whale, No. 1706 in New England Aquarium’s North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog, has not yet been given a name. Christin Khan, NOAA/NEFSC

Cape Cod Times: From 750 feet above Northeast ocean waters, right whale researchers can easily pick out “Ruffian” for his many scars or “Baldy” for her lack of rough skin patches. Other right whales, though, may take hours to identify.

A new “face recognition” algorithm for right whales, however, announced recently by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could lead to development of time- and money-saving software and eventually to greater preservation of a species whose global population is 520, right whale experts say.

Read more about whale recognition software.