Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 1269-1279

A String Matching Computer-Assisted System for Dolphin Photoidentification

  • B. N. AraabiAffiliated withElectrical Engineering Department, Texas A & M University
  • , N. KehtarnavazAffiliated withElectrical Engineering Department, Texas A & M University
  • , T. McKinneyAffiliated withElectrical Engineering Department, Texas A & M University
  • , G. HillmanAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Medical Branch
  • , B. WürsigAffiliated withMarine Mammal Research Program, Texas A & M University at Galveston

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This paper presents a syntactic/semantic string representation scheme as well as a string matching method as part of a computer-assisted system to identify dolphins from photographs of their dorsal fins. A low-level string representation is constructed from the curvature function of a dolphin's fin trailing edge, consisting of positive and negative curvature primitives. A high-level string representation is then built over the low-level string via merging appropriate groupings of primitives in order to have a less sensitive representation to curvature fluctuations or noise. A family of syntactic/semantic distance measures between two strings is introduced. A composite distance measure is then defined and used as a dissimilarity measure for database search, highlighting both the syntax (structure or sequence) and semantic (attribute or feature) differences. The syntax consists of an ordered sequence of significant protrusions and intrusions on the edge, while the semantics consist of seven attributes extracted from the edge and its curvature function. The matching results are reported for a database of 624 images corresponding to 164 individual dolphins. The identification results indicate that the developed string matching method performs better than the previous matching methods including dorsal ratio, curvature, and curve matching. The developed computer-assisted system can help marine mammalogists in their identification of dolphins, since it allows them to examine only a handful of candidate images instead of the currently used manual searching of the entire database. © 2000 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC00: 8780Tq, 4230Sy, 0705Pj

Dolphin photographic identification Computer-assisted system Dorsal fin curvature representation Syntactic/semantic curve modeling String matching Dolphin image database