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Tracking Honey Bees with Machine Vision and Artificial Intelligence – a talk by Malika Ratnayake and Alan Dorin

14th February 2022 @ 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm GMT

Please note later start time than usual for this Zoom event – to recognise UK and Australian time zones!

CABK members and Non-members are welcome to attend.  There is no fee for this event which also will be live-streamed to the CABK YouTube Channel – watch live or later, on demand.

Registration for the Zoom event is now open


Prof. Alan Dorin and his PhD student Malika Ratnayake will talk about their multi-disciplinary approach to understanding how bees behave in complex environments.

Alan Dorin

Alan Dorin is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He researches the ways in which technology assists discovery in the ecological sciences and in human creativity. Through his work in Artificial Life, Alan explores the key attributes of organisms that enable them to live in complex environments.
In particular, Alan’s research addresses one of the most important current global problems – how insects, especially bees, contribute to human food production and natural ecosystem sustainability.

The simulations that he and his interdisciplinary team of researchers, students, and industry collaborators create, are used to improve agriculture and horticulture, and to assist us in maintaining natural ecosystems as our climate changes. The technologies that this same team develops help us to monitor the natural world, so that we can better understand how ecosystems are changing now, and predict how they will change in the future.

Alan promotes an understanding of the relationships between technology and human endeavour by nurturing curiosity and encouraging students to form their own bridges between disciplines.

Malika Ratnayake

Malika Ratnayake is a PhD student in Computational and Collective Intelligence in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering and a Masters in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. His research develops cutting edge computer-vision and deep-learning facilitated technologies for pollination monitoring. Through his research, Malika explores the behaviour of pollinators in complex environments using these novel technologies. This knowledge is used to improve the sustainability of pollinator resources and natural and agricultural ecosystems.

“Is technology a bee’s friend?”
In this presentation, Alan and Malika will describe computer simulations, hardware and software built in collaboration with ecologists, evolutionary biologists, botanists, entomologists, fruit/vegetable growers and seed producers, to help us better understand bee behaviour and pollination. These tools help us understand how to preserve the bees and flowering plants of our native ecosystems, and to secure our human food supply under a changing climate. Our tools account for what bees perceive and how they learn. They allow us to explore the implications of foraging and decision-making strategies of bees.

The big questions we address with this understanding relate to how bees interact with flowering plants in complex environments. Armed with this knowledge we can build environments that are friendly for bees and produce valuable human food. And, we can sustain our native ecosystems within which native bees play a key role.
Is technology an ally in this research? What might be the drawbacks of using technology in this context? What are some guiding principles when considering applications of technology to better understand bees?


14th February 2022
8:30 pm - 9:30 pm GMT


Your house, via Zoom


Sue Carter