Researchers from IML Oldenburg, together with doctoral students from the Applied Artificial Intelligence (AAI) department at the University of Oldenburg, have reached the finals of XPRIZE Rainforest, a global competition that promotes innovative technologies for researching, assessing and conserving biodiversity in tropical rainforests. As part of the Brazilian Team, they are developing an AI-system that filters out the acoustic signals that ecologists need to determine species diversity from a large number of audio files from the Brazilian rainforest. The team has exactly 48 hours to go from raw data to insights about biodiversity status. The finals will take place in real time between 17 and 22 July 2024.

left: Tropical rainforests are among the most species-rich ecosystems on earth. The loss of their biodiversity is an urgent challenge that researchers want to tackle with new technologies.

right: The photo shows two stations with recording devices, which were transported up into the treetops by the drone shown in the centre.

Tropical rainforests are among the most species-rich ecosystems on earth. Interventions such as deforestation and slash-and-burn agriculture are threatening this biodiversity. In Brazil alone, 20 per cent of the rainforests in the Amazon region have been destroyed in recent decades. “The loss of biodiversity is an urgent challenge of our time,” says Dr Thiago Gouvêa from Brazil and IML senior researcher. “With our machine learning methods, we want to make biodiversity more measurable and thus contribute to the protection of species richness.” 

“It is a great success for the team to be among the first six finalists, with more than three hundred teams taking part at the start of the competition and fifteen in the semi-finals”, says Professor Dr. Daniel Sonntag, who heads the IML research department and holds the endowed professorship Applied Artificial Intelligence (AAI) at the University of Oldenburg.

In the team from Lower Saxony, Thiago Gouvea is joined by Hannes Kath, Bengt Lüers, Rida Saghir and Ilira Troshani.

Read the whole story on the DFKI website and don´t miss to watch the great XPRIZE video.

Scientist Hannes Kath from Oldenburg recently travelled to Brazil. Our picture shows him in the Serra do Cipó National Park, where he visited a site with sensors used to pick up audio signals from the environment.