With the recent progress in digital cameras and sensors, as well as in network bandwidth and information storage capacities, the production of multimedia data has become an easy task, resulting in a huge amount of multimedia available on the web, in broadcast data streams, or in personal and professional databases. This explosion of multimedia data has created the urgent need for efficient organisation, browsing and retrieval tools. It has also generated new possibilities for exploiting multimedia data in diverse and specialized applications that can significantly gain from the analysis and understanding of such data.
Whilst a large number of multimedia analysis and understanding techniques have been developed specifically for investigating events and behaviors in human-centered applications, such as sports and surveillance, relatively little attention has been paid to the understanding of ecology-related multimedia content.
Such content is created at an accelerating pace; for instance, the EcoGrid project (http://ecogrid.nchc.org.tw/ ) has collected many Terabytes of data (videos, images and audio recordings) of monitoring forest animals as well as fish by the coral reefs in Taiwan. The wide range of “nest cams” continuously capturing bird’s nests (e.g. http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/nestcams/home/index), but also variants filming wolves, badgers, foxes etc. are other important examples. Similarly, multimedia data for pollution monitoring or for documenting and studying adverse weather phenomena and natural disasters are continuously collected.
The automated analysis of such multimedia data presents new challenges, and the results of such analyses are of great interest to investigators such as biologists in their strive towards analyzing the natural environment, promoting its preservation, and understanding the behavior and interactions of the living organisms (insects, animals, etc.) that are part of it.