Love thy neighbour: automatic animal behavioural classification of acceleration data using the K-nearest neighbour algorithm

Bidder, Owen R., Campbell, Hamish A., Gomez-Laich, Agustina, Urge, Patricia, Walker, James, Cai, Yuzhi, Gao, Lianli, Quintana, Flavio and Wilson, Rory P. (2014) Love thy neighbour: automatic animal behavioural classification of acceleration data using the K-nearest neighbour algorithm. PLoS One, 9 2: e88609.1-e88609.7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088609


Author Bidder, Owen R.
Campbell, Hamish A.
Gomez-Laich, Agustina
Urge, Patricia
Walker, James
Cai, Yuzhi
Gao, Lianli
Quintana, Flavio
Wilson, Rory P.
Title Love thy neighbour: automatic animal behavioural classification of acceleration data using the K-nearest neighbour algorithm
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0088609
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 2
Start page e88609.1
End page e88609.7
Total pages 7
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Abstract Researchers hoping to elucidate the behaviour of species that aren’t readily observed are able to do so using biotelemetry methods. Accelerometers in particular are proving particularly effective and have been used on terrestrial, aquatic and volant species with success. In the past, behavioural modes were detected in accelerometer data through manual inspection, but with developments in technology, modern accelerometers now record at frequencies that make this impractical. In light of this, some researchers have suggested the use of various machine learning approaches as a means to classify accelerometer data automatically. We feel uptake of this approach by the scientific community is inhibited for two reasons; 1) Most machine learning algorithms require selection of summary statistics which obscure the decision mechanisms by which classifications are arrived, and 2) they are difficult to implement without appreciable computational skill. We present a method which allows researchers to classify accelerometer data into behavioural classes automatically using a primitive machine learning algorithm, k-nearest neighbour (KNN). Raw acceleration data may be used in KNN without selection of summary statistics, and it is easily implemented using the freeware program R. The method is evaluated by detecting 5 behavioural modes in 8 species, with examples of quadrupedal, bipedal and volant species. Accuracy and Precision were found to be comparable with other, more complex methods. In order to assist in the application of this method, the script required to run KNN analysis in R is provided. We envisage that the KNN method may be coupled with methods for investigating animal position, such as GPS telemetry or dead-reckoning, in order to implement an integrated approach to movement ecology research.
Keyword Body Acceleration
Energy-Expenditure
Adelie Penguins
Locomotion
Ecology
Accelerometer
System
Speed
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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