Automated Peak Detection Method for Behavioral Event Identification: Detecting Balaenoptera musculus and Grampus griseus Feeding Attempts

The desire of animal behaviorists for more fexible methods of conducting inter-study and inter-specifc comparisons and meta-analysis of various animal behaviors compelled us to design an automated, animal behavior peak detection method that is potentially generalizable to a wide variety of data types, animals, and behaviors. We detected the times of feeding attempts by 12 Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) and 36 blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) using the norm-jerk (rate of change of acceleration) time series. The automated peak detection algorithm identified median true-positive rates of 0.881 for blue whale lunges and 0.410 for Risso’s dolphin prey capture attempts, with median false-positive rates of 0.096 and 0.007 and median miss rates of 0.113 and 0.314, respectively. Our study demonstrates that our peak detection method is efficient at automatically detecting animal behaviors from multisensor tag data with high accuracy for behaviors that are appropriately characterized by the data time series.


Sweeney, D.A., S.L. DeRuiter, Y.J. McNamara-Oh, T.A. Marques, P. Arranz, and J. Calambokidis. 2019. Automated Peak Detection Method for Behavioral Event Identification: Detecting Balaenoptera musculus and Grampus griseus Feeding Attempts. Animal Biotelemetry 7: 7. doi: 10.1186/s40317-019-0169-3

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