Previous Projects

Many projects have been completed since the start of this VIP. Some examples of previous projects that are no longer a current focus of the project include the following:


CetaceXplain was a previous project among some of the Computer scientists in our project. It is a Python module used to understand how machine learning models classify cetacean whistle contours. Machine learning models are computer based algorithms used to recognise patterns. In this case, the patterns were dolphin whistles contours (Figure 1). Recognising patterns in these contours allows machine learning models to classify these whistles.

CetaceXplain uses the SHAP Python library. SHAP uses Shapley values, derived from economic game theory that is now being widely applied to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). SHAP, in this module, indicates pixels on spectrograms that are considered important to a species classifier’s decision making process.

Figure 1: Spectrograms highlighting the pixels that are important for a machine learning (ML) model. Each of the grey columns represent the model’s classification of the image for different dolphin species. The red pixels indicate a positive influence on the machine learning model and the blue pixels indicate a negative influence. The left image uses the model trained on coloured images, whereas the right image uses greyscale images. Removing colour may improve the model by learning that colour choice for displaying spectrograms is irrelevant.  

ASAB Conference 2023

Students participating in the VIP in the Spring of 2023 had the opportunity to attend an ASAB conference for the study of animal behavior in Bangor, Wales. Different posters, presentations, networking opportunities, and Q&A’s were available for undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctorates alike. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity granted by the VIP. Our VIP published two posters at this conference.

Figure 2: One of the published posters displayed at the ASAB Conference 2023 highlighting the whistle repertoire of rough-toothed dolphins.

St Andrews VIP Conference 2023

Every semester, the University of St. Andrews hosts a conference for the VIPs to show off their work and educate the community about current projects and findings. Each VIP can present about their project and create a poster describing their efforts. 

Figure 3: The dolphin acoustics posters presented at the Spring 2023 St. Andrews VIP Conference (and the winners of the poster competition!). The top poster introduces the projects aims, data collection methods, past projects, and the biological and statistical side of the project. The bottom poster highlights the computer science side of the project.