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Data Science for Eco-Systems Research Group (DS4ES)

The DS4ES research group, is part of the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, Stellenbosch University and is in collaboration with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. The group strives to bridge the gap between ecology and machine learning by supervising brilliant students and producing novel research in machine learning for bioacoustics research and conservation ecology. The group was established in early 2022.

Group Members

Core Team

Dr. Emmanuel Dufourq - AIMS-Canada Junior Research Chair in Data Science for Climate Resilience

Prof. Kanshukan Rajaratnam - director of the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking

Prof. Francesco Petruccione - interim director of the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences (NITheCS)


Dr. Lorène Jeantet

Research Associates

Dr. Guilherme Frainer

Current Masters Students

Abraham Chakawa

Charles Herbst

Dean Blackburn

Donovan Broughton

Dumisani Namakhwa

Milanto Rasolofohery

Roanné Coetzer

Santeshan Naidoo

Current Honours (4th year) Students

Dean Hunter

Laura Jackson

Matthew Garret


Collaborators and Projects​

We are collaborating with students and researchers across Africa and Internationally.

Penguin Behaviour Classification

Researchers and collaborators:

Dr Anna Bastian (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Sara Beery (Caltech, United States)

Dr. Lorène Jeantet

Roanné Coetzer​

Estimating Cue Rates for Beaked Whales via Convolution Neural Networks

Researchers and collaborators:

Prof Tiago Marques (University of Lisbon, Portugal, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom)

Dr Kalliopi Gkikopoulou (University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom)

Masters student: Tomas Gueifao (University of Lisbon, Portugal)​

Automated Detection of Critically Endangered Hainan Gibbon Calls

Researchers and collaborators:

Dr Heidi Ma (Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom)

Dr Ian Durbach (University of St. Andrews, UK, University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Masters student: Nonhlanhla Luphade (University of Cape Town, South Africa)​

Disruptive Information Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation

Mandlenkosi Gwetu (University of Kwazulu-Natal)

Abdolrasoul Habibipour (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden)

Ashok Tripathi (LUT University, Finland)

Jari Porras (LUT University, Finland)

Automated Detection of Critically Endangered Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs Calls

Researchers and collaborators:

PhD student: Carly Batist (Hunter College, City University of New York, United States)​

Enhancing Machine Learning for Bioacoustics

Researchers and collaborators:

Dr. Lorène Jeantet

Dr Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa (Malawi University of University and Technology, Malawi)

Ruben Foquet (Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation, Belgium)

Abraham Chakawa

Dumisani Namakhwa

Donovan Broughton

Laura Jackson

Dr Kabano Ignace (University of Rwanda, Rwanda)

Boris Mikwa (University of Rwanda, Rwanda)

Aime Nshimiyimana (University of Rwanda, Rwanda)

Santeshan Naidoo​

Automated Detection of Spotted Hyenas Calls

Researchers and collaborators:

Dr. Emily Bennitt (University of Botswana, Botswana)

Masters student: Rethabile Setlalekgomo​

Automated Detection and Classification of Dolphin Sounds

Researchers and collaborators:

Dr. Guilherme Frainer (SeaSearch, University of Cape Town, South Africa)


Institutional Collaborators

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences

ACoustic CUe RATEs for passive acoustic density estimation

Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation


  • 15/05/2022: We congratulate Alex Mirugwe on the acceptance of his paper titled “Automating bird detection based on webcam captured images using deep learning" to appear at SAICSIT2022.
  • 05/05/2022: Dr. Emmanuel Dufourq will be presenting a skills showcase titled “Deep learning and bioacoustics" at ISEC2022.
  • 01/01/2022: Dr. Emmanuel Dufourq is part of the PIs who launched the “Advancing biodiversity informatics and ecological modelling" NITheCS Research Programme.


Open Access Datasets

Open Access Software