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Drones more precise for seabird monitoring

Cara J

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Frigatebirds (genus fregatidae) nesting on the ground among herbaceous vegetation in tropical areas or penguins (genus spheniscidae) in remote sub-Antarctic areas of Australia are difficult for some researchers to get to and monitor. But new research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, shows drones might not only help researchers get photos of those difficult areas, but they are also more precise at monitoring the size of colonies than traditional on-the-ground counts. “Until now, it has been unclear as to how precise drone technology might be when monitoring the size of populations of wildlife,” said Rohan Clarke, an ecologist at Monash University in Australia in a press release. “Our latest research has demonstrated that a very high degree of precision can be achieved when using drone technology to monitor wildlife.” The researchers studied seabirds in Ashmore Reef, a tropical area, as well as Macquarie Island, a sub-Antarctic area — both in Australia. As part of the study, the team compared image counts from drones with counts done by humans on the ground of frigatebirds, terns (genus sternidae) and penguins, said Jarrod Hodgson, the lead author of the study in the release. The team also monitored the seabird colonies during drone flights to [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/drones-more-precise-for-seabird-monitoring/

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