Unmanned aerial vehicles used for detecting wildlife in various habitats by their mid-infrared spectral signatures

Authors: Sophia Garrido*, Utah Valley University, Justus Thomas*, Department of Earth Science Utah Valley University, Justin White, Utah Valley University, Mike Bunds, Utah Valley University
Topics: Biogeography, UAS / UAV, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: wildlife monitoring, medium-large bodied species, thermal imaging, geospatial and UAV technologies
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As urbanization increases in the United States, monitoring wildlife populations is crucial in understand its profound impacts on the surrounding ecosystems. Large-scale wildlife monitoring can be expensive, invasive, and is time intensive. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have proven efficient in documenting wildlife presence. We aimed to identify the optimal methods for monitoring wildlife using their mid-infrared spectral (thermal) signatures in Utah County, UT using geospatial and UAV technologies. Utah County is an ideal location to conduct this research as it is expected to be one of the fastest growing counties nationwide through 2060 and it contains multiple, highly differing habitats: desert, agricultural, and montane. We used a FLIR Vue Pro R thermal imager affixed to a DJI Matrice 100 UAV. Identifying the optimal sampling methods includes the: 1) instrumentation used in each habitat type to document medium-large bodied species, 2) sampling time of day, 3) sampling duration, and 4) local atmospheric conditions. This work is interdisciplinary (spanning earth, geospatial, and wildlife science) and currently there is no protocol outlined for thermal imaging of wildlife in various habitats.

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