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Operational Protocols for the Use of Drones in Marine Animal Research

School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia
Sci-eye, P.O. Box 4202, Goonellabah, NSW 2480, Australia
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Warrnambool, VIC 3280, Australia
Marine Ecology Research Centre, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, P.O. Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología/Universidad de Quintana Roo, Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77019, Mexico
Fundación Internacional para la Naturaleza y la Sustentabilidad, Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77019, Mexico
Division of Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment Duke University Marine Laboratory, 135 Duke Marine Lab Rd., Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
Centre for Ecosystem Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Marine Predator Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E14NS, UK
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, National Marine Science Centre, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2020, 4(4), 64;
Received: 30 August 2020 / Revised: 23 September 2020 / Accepted: 23 September 2020 / Published: 25 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drone Technology for Wildlife and Human Management)
The use of drones to study marine animals shows promise for the examination of numerous aspects of their ecology, behaviour, health and movement patterns. However, the responses of some marine phyla to the presence of drones varies broadly, as do the general operational protocols used to study them. Inconsistent methodological approaches could lead to difficulties comparing studies and can call into question the repeatability of research. This review draws on current literature and researchers with a wealth of practical experience to outline the idiosyncrasies of studying various marine taxa with drones. We also outline current best practice for drone operation in marine environments based on the literature and our practical experience in the field. The protocols outlined herein will be of use to researchers interested in incorporating drones as a tool into their research on marine animals and will help form consistent approaches for drone-based studies in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: review; UAV; drones; marine; methods; approach; research; animals; protocols; behaviour review; UAV; drones; marine; methods; approach; research; animals; protocols; behaviour
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MDPI and ACS Style

Raoult, V.; Colefax, A.P.; Allan, B.M.; Cagnazzi, D.; Castelblanco-Martínez, N.; Ierodiaconou, D.; Johnston, D.W.; Landeo-Yauri, S.; Lyons, M.; Pirotta, V.; Schofield, G.; Butcher, P.A. Operational Protocols for the Use of Drones in Marine Animal Research. Drones 2020, 4, 64.

AMA Style

Raoult V, Colefax AP, Allan BM, Cagnazzi D, Castelblanco-Martínez N, Ierodiaconou D, Johnston DW, Landeo-Yauri S, Lyons M, Pirotta V, Schofield G, Butcher PA. Operational Protocols for the Use of Drones in Marine Animal Research. Drones. 2020; 4(4):64.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Raoult, Vincent, Andrew P. Colefax, Blake M. Allan, Daniele Cagnazzi, Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez, Daniel Ierodiaconou, David W. Johnston, Sarah Landeo-Yauri, Mitchell Lyons, Vanessa Pirotta, Gail Schofield, and Paul A. Butcher 2020. "Operational Protocols for the Use of Drones in Marine Animal Research" Drones 4, no. 4: 64.

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