What is it about?

We used drones and machine learning to monitor the well-studied Scandinavian harbor seal, identifying and counting both pups and older seals, and presenting a new method for measuring body size automatically. Our results confirm a deteriorating reproductive rate in this colony and show that drones and machine learning are powerful tools for monitoring wildlife in inaccessible areas, yielding high-quality data for detecting changes in population growth and somatic size.

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Why is it important?

Our study highlights the potential of using aerial drones and machine learning to effectively monitor wildlife populations, providing accurate and time-efficient results while overcoming economic and logistic challenges posed by complex and remote habitats.


The use of innovative technology such as drones and machine learning in wildlife conservation is crucial for detecting declines in populations and guiding appropriate management actions. This study demonstrates the potential for improved monitoring and data collection methods that can lead to better informed conservation efforts.

Dr Eduardo Infantes
Goteborgs Universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: An automated work-flow for pinniped surveys: A new tool for monitoring population dynamics, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, August 2022, Frontiers, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2022.905309.
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