Marine scientists are using aerial drones to track dugongs off the Western Australia coast.
The scientists are employing a grid system to efficiently survey areas where they think dugongs would be. According to Dr. Christophe Gleguer from Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute:
“Instead of using a horizontal flight path consisting of long parallel lines up and down the entire survey area, we tested a grid-based system where you could survey one or more grid cells at a time using smaller drones. The technique required minimal movement since you only needed to anchor the boat at the intersection of the grid, while keeping the drone in the visual line of sight from the boat.”
Scientists conducted an average of 90 aerial survey flights during research trips that lasted about three weeks. A total of 240 flights resulted in 149 dugong sightings.
Check out the video below for more info.