Going batty: the challenges and opportunities of using drones to monitor the behaviour and habitat use of rays

Oleksyn, Semonn, Tosetto, Louise, Raoult, Vincent, Joyce, Karen E., and Williamson, Jane E. (2021) Going batty: the challenges and opportunities of using drones to monitor the behaviour and habitat use of rays. Drones, 5 (1). 12.

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The way an animal behaves in its habitat provides insight into its ecological role. As such, collecting robust, accurate datasets in a time-efficient manner is an ever-present pressure for the field of behavioural ecology. Faced with the shortcomings and physical limitations of traditional ground-based data collection techniques, particularly in marine studies, drones offer a low-cost and efficient approach for collecting data in a range of coastal environments. Despite drones being widely used to monitor a range of marine animals, they currently remain underutilised in ray research. The innovative application of drones in environmental and ecological studies has presented novel opportunities in animal observation and habitat assessment, although this emerging field faces substantial challenges. As we consider the possibility to monitor rays using drones, we face challenges related to local aviation regulations, the weather and environment, as well as sensor and platform limitations. Promising solutions continue to be developed, however, growing the potential for drone-based monitoring of behaviour and habitat use of rays. While the barriers to enter this field may appear daunting for researchers with little experience with drones, the technology is becoming increasingly accessible, helping ray researchers obtain a wide range of highly useful data.

Item ID: 69820
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2504-446X
Keywords: UAV; UAS; RPA; benthic habitat mapping; ray ecology; coastal environments; batoidea
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 03:44
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4013 Geomatic engineering > 401304 Photogrammetry and remote sensing @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 100%
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