Hooked on Science: Using AI to Size Fish
Bachelor of Marine Science Honours student Adam Shand moved to the Gold Coast from Coffs Harbour to study. He loved the ocean from a young age, so choosing to study marine science was a no-brainer. Now towards the end of his honours year, Adam has been researching the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and stereo cameras to automate the detection of estuary rays, reticulate whiprays and yellowfin bream.
“As far back as I can remember my life was always linked to the ocean; it has always been an integral part of my life and I wanted my career to echo that. Passion for the environment also played a big role, I wanted to protect and preserve the environment that brings me so much joy.”
What was your proudest achievement while studying your bachelor degree?
Jokes aside, definitely the capstone project I did in my third year. We went to Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef and as part of a team of five designed, researched and ran our own project. The time frame, teamwork and results are something I am incredibly proud of. Other achievements I am proud of are my marks and the general skills I acquired during the degree. Four4 years ago, I could barely write a lab report!
“The Global Wetlands Project (GLOW) has been utilising AI to supercharge their research for over a year now. I started out volunteering with them which gave me my initial exposure to the AI world.”
How did you decide on your honours project?
My honours project aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) and stereo cameras to automate the process of sizing fish to monitor multiple species underwater and explore how the visual similarity of species affects performance. This information will guide future conservation and management strategies. I’d have to thank the wonderful research team I’ve been working with for landing on this project and topic. The Global Wetlands Project (GLOW) has been utilising AI to supercharge their research for over a year now. I started out volunteering with them which gave me my initial exposure to the AI world. This has given me a far stronger background in the field than a traditional marine scientist although I still have much to learn.
With the current COVID-19 concerns, how have you altered your research to deal with this?
The COVID-19 situation eliminated my opportunity to run my own fieldwork. To deal with it I altered my question and methods to make use of data that I already have access to (still in the AI field). I got off lucky!
You also work as a Peer Mentor for Griffith, what do you enjoy about doing this?
I really enjoy watching the marine science cohort grow each year. It is inspiring to know that there are so many more like-minded people behind me ready to change the world in their own way. I consider it a privilege to be a mentor and do my best to return the inspiration in kind. My favourite part is highlighting the great friendships you can establish with your teachers.
Do you have any advice for future or current students?
Here’s a curve-ball; grades don’t mean everything, if you’re an undergrad reading this: network and make connections! Everyone always says “go network” “make connections” “create your opportunity”. And that’s exactly how it is. You need to be driven and go after what you want, but if you do you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
An Honours year provides the satisfaction of advanced study, a close supervision relationship with an academic, the ability to engage in specialised and extended research, and enhanced job opportunities. It is also a pathway to a postgraduate research degree such as a Masters by Research or PhD.
Learn more about doing an honours research project with the School of Environment and Science