Automatic detection of western rock lobster using synthetic data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Underwater imaging is being extensively used for monitoring the abundance of lobster species and their biodiversity in their local habitats. However, manual assessment of these images requires a huge amount of human effort. In this article, we propose to automate the process of lobster detection using a deep learning technique. A major obstacle in deploying such an automatic framework for the localization of lobsters in diverse environments is the lack of large annotated training datasets. Generating synthetic datasets to train these object detection models has become a popular approach. However, the current synthetic data generation frameworks rely on automatic segmentation of objects of interest, which becomes difficult when the objects have a complex shape, such as lobster. To overcome this limitation, we propose an approach to synthetically generate parts of the lobster. To handle the variability of real-world images, these parts were inserted into a set of diverse background marine images to generate a large synthetic dataset. A state-of-the-art object detector was trained using this synthetic parts dataset and tested on the challenging task of Western rock lobster detection in West Australian seas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first automatic lobster detection technique for partially visible and occluded lobsters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1317
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


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