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Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space

Date:
May 4, 2017
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Albatrosses, one of the most iconic but also one of the most threatened groups of birds on the planet, are difficult to study in part because they breed on some of the world's remotest and most inaccessible islands. Scientists have now shown that the highest resolution satellite imagery is capable of 'seeing' these birds from space, allowing researchers to count their numbers on remote islands directly from satellite images without ever having to go there.
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Albatrosses, one of the most iconic but also one of the most threatened groups of birds on the planet, are difficult to study in part because they breed on some of the world's remotest and most inaccessible islands.

Scientists have now shown that the highest resolution satellite imagery is capable of "seeing" these birds from space, allowing researchers to count their numbers on remote islands directly from satellite images without ever having to go there.

This is the first time that satellites have been used to count individual birds from space.

"The great albatross breed in some really remote places, so counting them by traditional methods can be difficult and expensive. Many important colonies of these endangered birds have not been surveyed for decades, so being able to use satellites, which are relatively inexpensive and can take images of anywhere on earth, will be a step-change in how we monitor albatrosses in the future," said Dr. Peter Fretwell, lead author of the Ibis study.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Peter T. Fretwell, Paul Scofield, Richard A. Phillips. Using super-high resolution satellite imagery to census threatened albatrosses. Ibis, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12482

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504083234.htm>.
Wiley. (2017, May 4). Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504083234.htm
Wiley. "Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504083234.htm (accessed May 27, 2017).

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