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KillerWhales_UAV

A hexacopter is being used to monitor and measure killer whales in Canada’s Johnstone Strait.

Researchers at the Vancouver Aquarium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are using a hexacopter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to monitor the health of killer whales in Canada’s Johnstone Strait. Prior research determined a correlation with high mortality when there was a poor season for Chinook salmon, and the current research looks at the affect of area salmon farms.

Drone overflights help to determine the thinness of the whales. When they lose weight, they replace lost fat with water to maintain a streamlined shape, which isn’t visible when looking at the whales from water. With views from above, the researchers were able to accurately measure if the whales were malnourished using a width-to-length ratio.

In addition to studying the whales’ health, the UAS platform also proved valuable in monitoring their family groups and hunting and social behavior. The researchers were able to get close, clear images without disturbing the whales—something manned helicopters can’t accomplish because of their size and noise.

Read the full story. 

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KillerWhales_UAV

A hexacopter is being used to monitor and measure killer whales in Canada’s Johnstone Strait.

Researchers at the Vancouver Aquarium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are using a hexacopter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to monitor the health of killer whales in Canada’s Johnstone Strait. Prior research determined a correlation with high mortality when there was a poor season for Chinook salmon, and the current research looks at the affect of area salmon farms.

Drone overflights help to determine the thinness of the whales. When they lose weight, they replace lost fat with water to maintain a streamlined shape, which isn’t visible when looking at the whales from water. With views from above, the researchers were able to accurately measure if the whales were malnourished using a width-to-length ratio.

In addition to studying the whales’ health, the UAS platform also proved valuable in monitoring their family groups and hunting and social behavior. The researchers were able to get close, clear images without disturbing the whales—something manned helicopters can’t accomplish because of their size and noise.

Read the full story. 

Comments are closed.