Efficient pollen grain classification using pre-trained Convolutional Neural Networks: a comprehensive study

Masoud A. Rostami*, Behnaz Balmaki, Lee A. Dyer, Julie M. Allen, Mohamed F. Sallam, Fabrizio Frontalini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pollen identification is necessary for several subfields of geology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. However, the existing methods for pollen identification are laborious, time-consuming, and require highly skilled scientists. Therefore, there is a pressing need for an automated and accurate system for pollen identification, which can be beneficial for both basic research and applied issues such as identifying airborne allergens. In this study, we propose a deep learning (DL) approach to classify pollen grains in the Great Basin Desert, Nevada, USA. Our dataset consisted of 10,000 images of 40 pollen species. To mitigate the limitations imposed by the small volume of our training dataset, we conducted an in-depth comparative analysis of numerous pre-trained Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) architectures utilizing transfer learning methodologies. Simultaneously, we developed and incorporated an innovative CNN model, serving to augment our exploration and optimization of data modeling strategies. We applied different architectures of well-known pre-trained deep CNN models, including AlexNet, VGG-16, MobileNet-V2, ResNet (18, 34, and 50, 101), ResNeSt (50, 101), SE-ResNeXt, and Vision Transformer (ViT), to uncover the most promising modeling approach for the classification of pollen grains in the Great Basin. To evaluate the performance of the pre-trained deep CNN models, we measured accuracy, precision, F1-Score, and recall. Our results showed that the ResNeSt-110 model achieved the best performance, with an accuracy of 97.24%, precision of 97.89%, F1-Score of 96.86%, and recall of 97.13%. Our results also revealed that transfer learning models can deliver better and faster image classification results compared to traditional CNN models built from scratch. The proposed method can potentially benefit various fields that rely on efficient pollen identification. This study demonstrates that DL approaches can improve the accuracy and efficiency of pollen identification, and it provides a foundation for further research in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
JournalJournal of Big Data
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Convolutional Neural Networks
  • Deep learning
  • Great basin
  • Pollen identification
  • Transfer learning

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