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Drones & Technology

Using drones, a range of sensor technologies (e.g. thermal), animal borne devices (e.g. seabird tracking), artificial intelligence and other innovative techniques for effective ecological monitoring 


In recent years, technological advancements have rapidly increased our ability to understand, monitor, and protect vulnerable species. As the development of these tools and techniques continues to progress, our ability to provide evidence-based solutions for management will further improve. Tools and techniques with substantial potential include; artificial intelligence and machine learning, remote sensing (including that gathered by unmanned aerial vehicles) and monitoring tools (including visual, acoustic, eDNA, thermal and others). Our lab has extensive experience with many of these tools and techniques. We have shown the value of drones for monitoring seabird and seal colonies, and the value of thermal cameras for monitoring small endotherms. We have used acoustic recorders and machine learning software to detect endangered avifauna and used eDNA to investigate diet. 

Tracking technologies and wildlife monitoring

Drones and remote sensing

Recent findings

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Detection performance of monitoring methods varies depending on the strata in which the device was deployed

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The risk of bird strike is low, even when flying drones in areas with high bird densities

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Thermal cameras detect small endotherms more effectively than spotlighting 

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eDNA identifies different raptor prey composition relative to visual analysis

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