The lovely language of algorithms

A photograph of an Argentine brown bat sitting among lichens and moss.
A very close relative of our beloved Big Brown Bat, the Argentine Brown Bat, speaks a different language. Image by Karin Schneeberger, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I’m excited because it’s almost Christmas!

I found a very interesting article about a group of scientists in Uruguay who are creating a special AI algorithm that will help in identifying bats flying around! This is important because bats in South America speak different dialects than the same species in North America. So, the databases in use in North America don’t work in Uruguay or the rest of South America. This new algorithm will be able to pick up a bat’s call through a microphone and determine which species it is.

This algorithm was first created to help scientists learn which bats were flying into windmills. This information could then be used to work with wind farm operators to help protect bats. Studies have shown that more than 40 bat species are affected by windmills and almost 300 mass bat death events have occurred due to wind turbine blades. Until now, scientists needed to catch bats flying in an area in order to identify them. With this algorithm, the very difficult and time-consuming task of catching a bat is no longer necessary.

In addition to being used to help scientists protect bats from wind turbines, this algorithm could be used to identify unknown bat species. Hopefully the use of this algorithm will help scientists locate a bat that has been believed extinct in Uruguay for 50 years.

If you would like to read more about this study, you can find information here.

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