Aerial and Underwater Drone Technology to Survey and Monitor Sea Turtles
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DRONE SURVEYING & MONITORING OF SEA TURTLES

Underwater drone captures a photo of a sea turtle An underwater drone recording a sea turtle (Credit: Navatics, via communication.)

Drone captures a photo of Sea Turtles 911 volunteers surveying for sea turtles An aerial drone in the sky records Sea Turtles 911 volunteers surveying for sea turtles.

The advent of drone technologies has ushered in a new frontier of minimally invasive techniques and methods for sea turtle research and conservation management. With the many types of drones available now, ranging from remotely operated vehicles (ROV), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), a multitude of new methods and techniques to survey and monitor wildlife animals, including sea turtles, have been introduced. To facilitate research in this novel field, standardized protocols for reporting methods and operational protocols for using drones in marine animal research have been published by the scientific community.






Research Publications on How Drone Technology Supports the Conservation of Sea Turtles:

  1. Bevan (2015) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Monitoring Sea Turtles in Near-Shore Waters.

  2. Smolowitz (2015) Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to observe loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) behavior on foraging grounds off the mid-Atlantic United States.

  3. Bevan (2016) Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Technology for Locating, Identifying, and Monitoring Courtship and Mating Behavior in the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

  4. Schofield (2016) Detecting elusive aspects of wildlife ecology using drones: New insights on the mating dynamics and operational sex ratios of sea turtles.

  5. Patel (2016) Videography Reveals In-Water Behavior of Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta) at a Foraging Ground.

  6. Sykora-Bodie (2017) Quantifying Nearshore Sea Turtle Densities: Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Population Assessments.

  7. Rees (2018) The potential of unmanned aerial systems for sea turtle research and conservation: a review and future directions.

  8. Dodge (2018) TurtleCam: A “Smart” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Investigating Behaviors and Habitats of Sea Turtles.

  9. Maki (2019) Autonomous Tracking of Sea Turtles based on Multibeam Imaging Sonar: Toward Robotic Observation of Marine Life.

  10. Schofield (2019) Drones for research on sea turtles and other marine vertebrates – A review.

  11. Tapilatu (2019) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Use as a Tool to Assess Crawling and Swimming Speeds in Hatchling Sea Turtles.

  12. Dunstan (2020) Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mark-resight nesting population estimation of adult female green sea turtles at Raine Island.

  13. Raoult (2020) Remotely operated vehicles as alternatives to snorkellers for video-based marine research.