CALIBRATING UAV PHOTOGRAMMETRY TO DERIVE DELPHINID POPULATION DEMOGRAPHIC PARAMETERS
This project aims to develop a method to rapidly assess delphinid population age structure. This will ultimately provide an assessment of population growth and survival rates, and early insight into whether there may be cause for concern for specific populations.
The power to detect population increases or declines using traditional photo-identification methods typically requires decades of data collection before changes in vital rates (e.g. survival, fertility etc.) manifest themselves as changes in population size. New technologies are available that enable assessment of group composition and population age structure, as well as measures of individual animal health that can ultimately provide assessment of population growth and survival rates, and early insight into whether there may be cause for concern for these populations. This study is the first phase of a multi-part study to assess the feasibility of determining population age structure that can be applied to smaller and mid-sized delphinids.
The aims of the first phase of the project are to:
collect both UAV aerial images of dolphins housed at Sea Life Park (SLP), Hawaii, and actual hands-on measurements of dolphin length and girth;
calibrate and test the precision of UAV-obtained length measurements of dolphins housed at SLP by comparing UAV-derived length estimates with hands-on measurements of the dolphins.
Once precision estimates have been obtained, the next phases of the effort will use aerial photographs of free-ranging cetacean populations to measure animal length for comparison against published growth curves for those species to infer the age-class for individuals in free-ranging populations.
Lars Bejder - MMRP
Fabien Vivier - MMRP
Cormac Booth - SMRU Consulting
Erin Oleson - NOAA/PIFSC
Amanda Bradford - NOAA/PIFSC
Marie Hill - NOAA/JIMAR
Aude Pacini - MMRP
Jeff Pawloski - SLP
Julie Rocho-Levine - DQ