Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 1655–1660 | Cite as

Semi-automated software for dorsal fin photographic identification of marine species: application to Carcharodon carcharias

  • S. AndreottiEmail author
  • P. Holtzhausen
  • M. Rutzen
  • M. Meÿer
  • S. van der Walt
  • B. Herbst
  • C. A. Matthee
Short Communication


When dealing with large marine species, individual photographic identification plays a very important part in capture–mark–recapture studies. The success of this method is determined by the consistent correct identification of individuals, but as the number of images in the database increases, the task becomes increasingly time-consuming, affecting the accuracy of the matches. Although a few software packages are available, universally applied methods remain problematic in long-term studies, suggesting the need for species-specific software. This study presents new image recognition software tested on white sharks’ dorsal fins and is based on a dynamic time warping algorithm. The software is specifically designed to improve the matching success of individuals, to standardise the data collection and to increase the overall accuracy when managing a large capture–mark–recapture database.


Automated matching Capture–mark–recapture Monitoring system Photographic identification White shark 



We would like to acknowledge Shark Diving Unlimited for the financial support, the vessels, logistical assistance and the help of its staff, particularly L. Rutzen and J. Grodes. We thank F. Rutzen, T. Dose, J. Burger, J. de Bruyn, J.P. Botha, S. McCue, K. Moss and S. Muller for the assistance with the fieldwork. SA was financed by the Department of Botany and Zoology Postgraduate Bursary Scheme.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Genomics Group, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Applied MathematicsStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  4. 4.Shark Diving UnlimitedGansbaaiSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch Oceans and CoastsVictoria & Alfred WaterfrontCape TownSouth Africa

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