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.
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John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.