Deep learning-assisted comparative analysis of animal trajectories with DeepHL

Takuya Maekawa, Kazuya Ohara, Yizhe Zhang, Matasaburo Fukutomi, Sakiko Matsumoto, Kentarou Matsumura, Hisashi Shidara, Shuhei J. Yamazaki, Ryusuke Fujisawa, Kaoru Ide, Naohisa Nagaya, Koji Yamazaki, Shinsuke Koike, Takahisa Miyatake, Koutarou D. Kimura, Hiroto Ogawa, Susumu Takahashi, Ken Yoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A comparative analysis of animal behavior (e.g., male vs. female groups) has been widely used to elucidate behavior specific to one group since pre-Darwinian times. However, big data generated by new sensing technologies, e.g., GPS, makes it difficult for them to contrast group differences manually. This study introduces DeepHL, a deep learning-assisted platform for the comparative analysis of animal movement data, i.e., trajectories. This software uses a deep neural network based on an attention mechanism to automatically detect segments in trajectories that are characteristic of one group. It then highlights these segments in visualized trajectories, enabling biologists to focus on these segments, and helps them reveal the underlying meaning of the highlighted segments to facilitate formulating new hypotheses. We tested the platform on a variety of trajectories of worms, insects, mice, bears, and seabirds across a scale from millimeters to hundreds of kilometers, revealing new movement features of these animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5316
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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