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Although the larger creatures of our ocean seem like they would be easy to find, sometimes it can like attempting to find a needle in a haystack. The animals are large, but the ocean is a vast expanse that can be difficult to search through. The limiting factors become the amount of time and money that the researchers have to spend looking for the creatures.
Luckily, a new tool may be able to help researchers monitor wildlife populations with ease. With the use of consumer-level drones, scientists can find megafauna in our oceans easier.
According to Enie Hensel, a Ph.D. student using the technology, “We found that drones can be used to count and make species-level identifications of marine species, particularly in shallow marine environments. Demonstrating the viability of drones for this work matters, because these are inexpensive tools for collecting accurate abundance estimates. And those estimates are important for both informing the development of conservation efforts and for assessing the effectiveness of those efforts.”
The focus of her study was to prove that drones were an effective way to monitor populations of larger animals in the ocean. It is an impressive way to use the new technology available. With drones, it may be possible to build a more comprehensive view of a population based on the ability to cover more area.
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