Optimizing the number of classes in automated zooplankton classification

Jose A. Fernandes, Xabier Irigoien, Guillermo Boyra, Jose A. Lozano, Iñaki Inza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Zooplankton biomass and abundance estimation, based on surveys or time-series, is carried out routinely. Automated or semi-automated image analysis processes, combined with machine-learning techniques for the identification of plankton, have been proposed to assist in sample analysis. A difficulty in automated plankton recognition and classification systems is the selection of the number of classes. This selection can be formulated as a balance between the number of classes identified (zooplankton taxa) and performance (accuracy; correctly classified individuals). Here, a method is proposed to evaluate the impact of the number of selected classes, in terms of classification performance. On the basis of a data set of classified zooplankton images, a machine-learning method suggests groupings that improve the performance of the automated classification. The end-user can accept or reject these mergers, depending on their ecological value and the objectives of the research. This method permits both objectives to be equally balanced: (i) maximization of the number of classes and (ii) performance, guided by the end-user.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimizing the number of classes in automated zooplankton classification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this