Survey of Automatic Plankton Image Recognition: Challenges, Existing Solutions and Future Perspectives

Tuomas Eerola, Daniel Batrakhanov, Nastaran Vatankhah Barazandeh, Kaisa Kraft, Lumi Haraguchi, Lasse Lensu, Sanna Suikkanen, Jukka Seppälä, Timo Tamminen, Heikki Kälviäinen

Planktonic organisms are key components of aquatic ecosystems and respond quickly to changes in the environment, therefore their monitoring is vital to understand the changes in the environment. Yet, monitoring plankton at appropriate scales still remains a challenge, limiting our understanding of functioning of aquatic systems and their response to changes. Modern plankton imaging instruments can be utilized to sample at high frequencies, enabling novel possibilities to study plankton populations. However, manual analysis of the data is costly, time consuming and expert based, making such approach unsuitable for large-scale application and urging for automatic solutions. The key problem related to the utilization of plankton datasets through image analysis is plankton recognition. Despite the large amount of research done, automatic methods have not been widely adopted for operational use. In this paper, a comprehensive survey on existing solutions for automatic plankton recognition is presented. First, we identify the most notable challenges that that make the development of plankton recognition systems difficult. Then, we provide a detailed description of solutions for these challenges proposed in plankton recognition literature. Finally, we propose a workflow to identify the specific challenges in new datasets and the recommended approaches to address them. For many of the challenges, applicable solutions exist. However, important challenges remain unsolved: 1) the domain shift between the datasets hindering the development of a general plankton recognition system that would work across different imaging instruments, 2) the difficulty to identify and process the images of previously unseen classes, and 3) the uncertainty in expert annotations that affects the training of the machine learning models for recognition. These challenges should be addressed in the future research.

Knowledge Graph

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