The new Primates in Peril report is out. You can download it from the link below.
We just published a new paper on drones and its open access so can be downloaded from here.
Lightweight drones have emerged recently as a remote sensing survey tool of choice for ecologists, conservation practitioners and environmental scientists. In published work, there are plentiful details on the parameters and settings used for successful data capture, but in contrast there is a dearth of information describing the operational complexity of drone deployment. Information about the practices of flying in the field, whilst currently lacking, would be useful for others embarking on new drone-based investigations. As a group of drone-piloting scientists, we have operated lightweight drones for research in over 25 projects, in over 10 countries, and in polar, desert, coastal and tropical ecosystems, with many hundreds of hours of flying experience between us. The purpose of this paper was to document the lesser-reported methodological pitfalls of drone deployments so that other scientists can understand the spectrum of considerations that need to be accounted for prior to, and during drone survey flights. Herein, we describe the most common challenges encountered, alongside mitigation and remediation actions that increase the chances of safe and successful data capture. Challenges are grouped into the following categories: (i) pre-flight planning, (ii) flight operations, (iii) weather, (iv) redundancy, (v) data quality, (vi) batteries. We also discuss the importance of scientists undertaking ethical assessment of their drone practices, to identify and mitigate potential conflicts associated with drone use in particular areas. By sharing our experience, our intention is that the paper will assist those embarking on new drone deployments, increasing the efficacy of acquiring high-quality data from this new proximal aerial viewpoint.
There are new PhD application opportunities at LJMU. See: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/research/phd-scholarships
If you are a student with an MSc and one or more published papers and are interested to potentially collaborate with me on primate or drone projects get in touch. These scholarships are highly competitive and the proposal topic depends to a large extent on the interest of the student.
Another paper. This time on orangutan calls and how they inform the evolution of human speech. Read more here.
We published a new paper on automating the detection of animals and humans on thermal imaging obtained with a drone. Click here to download the full paper. This paper was the result of a unique collaboration between researchers in ecology and astrophysics.