The amount of applications for unmanned aerial vehicles has continued to expand with the addition of marine conservation.
Drones are changing the face of turtle research and conservation, a new study from the University of Exeter has revealed.
By providing new ways to track turtles over large areas and in hard-to-reach locations, the drones have quickly become a key resource for scientists.
The research also found that drone footage can boost public interest and involvement in turtle conservation.
“Drones are increasingly being used to gather data in greater detail and across wider areas than ever before,” said Dr Alan Rees, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
“Satellite systems and aircraft transformed turtle conservation, but drones offer cheaper and often better ways to gather information.
“We are learning more about their behaviour and movements at sea, and drones also give us new avenues for anti-poaching efforts.”
The paper warns that, despite the benefits, drones cannot fully replace ground work and surveys and that more research is required to understand if and how turtles perceive drones during flight, and whether this has an impact on them.