At Wild Me, high technology and citizen science are telling the amazing stories of animals' lives.
Wildlife research in the 21st century will be an amazing blend of drones with advanced computer vision, massive data collection by citizen scientists, and the integration of artificial intelligence to help make sense of it all. We are starting to have unprecedented insight into the complex and rich lives of the wildlife we study. Through advanced computing, we're bringing their stories to you.
It starts with good science. Click on a project below to learn more about our work on wildlife + citizen science + artificial intelligence.
The open source Wildbook® platform brings a wealth of new technology to combat extinction. As the foundation of all of Wild Me's projects, Wildbook combines the power of wildlife research, citizen science, computer vision, and artificial intelligence to assess wildlife health and habitat, speeding population analysis and conservation action. Wildbook combines the research and talents of Wild Me, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Princeton University.
Manta Matcher is the first global online manta ray database, managing manta ray sightings and identifications worldwide. Researchers and citizen scientists all collaborate through our Wildbook software.
“Manta Matcher will revolutionize global research on these threatened rays and help change the way field researchers approach scientific research on wild animals by means of successful and meaningful public involvement.” - Dr. Andrea Marshall, co-founder
Flukebook.org is a free, online research platform that assists the conservation of whales and dolphins by automating individual identification in mark-recapture and providing a common data model for collaboration. Flukebook uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to help researchers rapidly curate cetacean sightings and photo-identification data across their catalogs, and it provides a portal for citizen scientists to contribute to marine conservation and follow individual animals they have met.
“Sperm whales roam so vastly that no one research group can study them across their range. PhotoID as a tool for conservation and research finds power in numbers and international, inter-institutional collaboration. Flukebook enables us to do this easily.”
- Shane Gero, The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
Software for wildlife research is often developed in isolation and rarely evolves beyond a single project. Compounding this problem is a lack of software development skills in the wildlife research community. Wild Incubator™ is an on-site, staffed software incubator in Portland, Oregon. The incubator allows code school graduates and undergraduate computer science students to hone their skills on directed, open source wildlife software problems (e.g., develop a new feature for Wildbook to help whale shark researchers). Students work in an environment where professional engineers can guide their experience and focus their efforts on real world problems. Wild Incubator helps modernize wildlife research by matching researchers with much needed technical software talent.
Want to learn more? Email incubator at wildme dot org.
Have you seen a whale shark?
The Wildbook for Whale Sharks photo-identification library is an award-winning visual database of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) encounters and of individually catalogued whale sharks. The library is maintained and used by marine biologists to collect and analyze whale shark sighting data to learn more about these amazing creatures.
The Wildbook uses photographs of the skin patterning behind the gills of each shark, and any scars, to distinguish between individual animals. Cutting-edge software supports rapid identification using pattern recognition and photo management tools.