Drones Revolutionize Ecological Monitoring

2016-06-28T19:24:21+00:00 March 21, 2016|
UAV in flight is shown. (Credit: Rohan Clarke)

(Click to enlarge) UAV in flight is shown. (Credit: Rohan Clarke)

New Monash University research has paved the way for drones to revolutionise ecological monitoring.

(From ScienceDaily) — Published today in the journal Scientific Reports, the research found that drones are much more precise at monitoring the size of seabird colonies in tropical and polar environments than more traditional ground counts. Carried out on Ashmore Reef (tropical) and Macquarie Island (Sub-Antarctic), the research found that the ever-increasing precision provided by drones, along with the ability to survey hard-to-reach populations, may mean that wildlife monitoring projects move from traditional methods to drone technology.

Monash ecologist Dr Rohan Clarke explained that drones have already been used to monitor everything from the breeding success of canopy-nesting birds and to surveying elephants but nobody had yet tested if this method was better than more traditional survey techniques.

“Until now, it has been unclear as to how precise drone technology might be when monitoring the size of populations of wildlife. Our latest research has demonstrated that a very high degree of precision can be achieved when using drone technology to monitor wildlife,” Dr Clarke said.

Lead author Jarrod Hodgson, who carried out the research while at Monash (and who is now at the University of Adelaide), explained how the research compared drone derived image counts with those made by humans on the ground.

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160317105111.htm