Making sense of animal sounds: "Bioacoustic AI"

September 6th, 2023

Machine learning, often called "AI", makes it possible to uncover the mysterious world of animal communication, analyzing their sounds that convey so much information. A new project called Bioacoustic AI is going to make this happen, and will use that information to monitor and protect wildlife.

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Revolution in
animal sound analysis

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already revolutionised the analysis of human speech, and will soon do the same for animal sounds. A new project called Bioacoustic AI will investigate this hot topic for the sounds of birds, bats, mammals, and insects, and will also investigate how new machine learning techniques can revolutionize our understanding of these animals.

of detail

The EU-funded project is led by AI researcher Dan Stowell from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the Dutch national research institute for biodiversity. Stowell: "Sound recording is cheap and convenient, and animal songs and calls contain a fascinating wealth of detail. Yet modern AI tools for speech transcription are only specialised for one species: humans. In this project we will find out how to adapt machine learning methods to uncover the details of animal populations and behaviours, through their songs and calls."

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The Doctoral Network includes a large consortium of universities, museums, and businesses across eight European countries, and brings together expertise from many domains that do not often come together: ecology, animal behavior, signal processing, and machine learning. This way, the project will be able to find ways of analyzing animal sounds that were not possible with more traditional methods. The team will do so through the work of ten PhD students. The analysis will be piloted in national wildlife monitoring projects, as well as new prototypes for AI-powered devices.

Nog een cicade

The voice
of nature

Overall, the team aims to discover new data-driven insights into animal behaviour and the stability of our treasured wildlife populations. In other words, to create a new channel for us to listen to the voice of nature.

Gekraagde roodstaart


  • To find out more about Bioacoustic AI, or to apply for the ten PhD positions, go to
  • If you need more information about the project, or want to collaborate, send an email to:
  • The developed AI techniques will be of help within the ARISE project, that is building an infrastructure that will identify and monitor all multicellular species in the Netherlands, including via sound.