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Title: Denoising, detection and classification of manatee vocalizations

Introduction

The West Indian manatee is a threatened species throughout its known range. To improve
its conservation, it is necessary to locate and count the individuals. This is a very difficult
task due to the cryptic behavioral characteristics of the species and the environmental
constraints, particularly in the Central American region, where muddy waters produce
limited visibility. A method to estimate manatee population through vocalizations is an
inexpensive, non-invasive, and novel option in the region.
In this internship, we will collaborate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
of Panama on the development of a signal processing scheme able to count the number of
manatees vocalizing in a given field recording. In particular, the intern will work on the
implementation of techniques to denoise and detect vocalizations in such recordings using
Matlab. After this stage the classificacion issue will be adressed

Internship description:

- Revision of selected documentation on previous works dealing with signal denoising
and enhancement for manatee vocalization or human speech. Previous works
dealing with manatee vocalization includes denoising and detection algorithms
based on wavelet analysis. In this internship, we will consider the use of signal
subspace approaches to denoise and detect the vocalizations. This kind of
approaches have been used for speech enhancement.
- Revision and implementation of classification approaches
- Implementation of the selected or proposed algorithm (using Matlab).
- Test of the performance of the implemented algorithms on field recordings provided
by STRI.

Contact:
Fernando Merchan
Universidad Tecnológica de Panama
fernando.merchan@utp.ac.pa