With the availability of low-cost and efficient digital cameras, ecologists can now survey the world’s biodiversity through image sensors, especially in the previously rather inaccessible marine realm. However, the data rapidly accumulates, and ecologists face a data processing bottleneck. While computer vision has long been used as a tool to speed up image processing, it is only since the breakthrough of deep learning (DL) algorithms that the revolution in the automatic assessment of biodiversity by video recording can be considered. However, current applications of DL models to biodiversity monitoring do not consider some universal rules of biodiversity, especially rules on the distribution of species abundance, species rarity and ecosystem openness. Yet, these rules imply three issues for deep learning applications: the imbalance of long-tail datasets biases the training of DL models; scarce data greatly lessens the performances of DL models for classes with few data. Finally, the open-world issue implies that objects that are absent from the training dataset are incorrectly classified in the application dataset. Promising solutions to these issues are discussed, including data augmentation, data generation, cross-entropy modification, few-shot learning and open set recognition. At a time when biodiversity faces the immense challenges of climate change and the Anthropocene defaunation, stronger collaboration between computer scientists and ecologists is urgently needed to unlock the automatic monitoring of biodiversity.