Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns

Ida E Bailey, A Backes, Patrick Walsh, Kate V Morgan, Simone Meddle, Susan D. Healy, Eira Ihalainen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract / Description of output

In nature, many animals build structures. Individuality in construction behaviour within species may allow for more flexible use of building sites and materials, a potentially advantageous trait in stochastic environments. While measuring structures at the scale of their gross morphology (e.g. length, volume, weight) is relatively easy this level of detail may be insufficient for detecting individuality in construction patterns. Capturing individuality in animal-built structures, such as can be done with the structures designed and built by human architects or artists, is therefore more challenging. Here we tested whether computer-aided image texture classification approaches can be used to describe textural variation in the nests of weaverbirds (Ploceus species) in order to attribute nests to the individual weaverbird that built them. We found that such an approach does allow the assignment of a signature to weaverbirds’ nests. We suggest that this approach is a useful tool with which to examine individual variation across a range of animal constructions and not just for nests.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event15th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology - Krakow, Poland
Duration: 9 Jul 200513 Jul 2005


Conference15th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology


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