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The Drone Revolution of Shark Science: A Review

NSW Department of Primary Industries, National Marine Science Centre, P.O. Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia
School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, National Marine Science Centre, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia
Sci-eye, P.O. Box 4202, Goonellabah, NSW 2480, Australia
SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
Marine Futures Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
UMS 3514 Plateforme Marine Stella Mare, Université de Corse Pasquale Paoli, 20620 Biguglia, France
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), School of Physics, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, 836 South Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744, USA
Marine Ecology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 November 2020 / Revised: 13 January 2021 / Accepted: 14 January 2021 / Published: 21 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drone Technology for Wildlife and Human Management)
Over the past decade, drones have become a popular tool for wildlife management and research. Drones have shown significant value for animals that were often difficult or dangerous to study using traditional survey methods. In the past five years drone technology has become commonplace for shark research with their use above, and more recently, below the water helping to minimise knowledge gaps about these cryptic species. Drones have enhanced our understanding of shark behaviour and are critically important tools, not only due to the importance and conservation of the animals in the ecosystem, but to also help minimise dangerous encounters with humans. To provide some guidance for their future use in relation to sharks, this review provides an overview of how drones are currently used with critical context for shark monitoring. We show how drones have been used to fill knowledge gaps around fundamental shark behaviours or movements, social interactions, and predation across multiple species and scenarios. We further detail the advancement in technology across sensors, automation, and artificial intelligence that are improving our abilities in data collection and analysis and opening opportunities for shark-related beach safety. An investigation of the shark-based research potential for underwater drones (ROV/AUV) is also provided. Finally, this review provides baseline observations that have been pioneered for shark research and recommendations for how drones might be used to enhance our knowledge in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial intelligence; AUV; drones; protocols; ROV; sharks; UAV artificial intelligence; AUV; drones; protocols; ROV; sharks; UAV
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MDPI and ACS Style

Butcher, P.A.; Colefax, A.P.; Gorkin, R.A.; Kajiura, S.M.; López, N.A.; Mourier, J.; Purcell, C.R.; Skomal, G.B.; Tucker, J.P.; Walsh, A.J.; Williamson, J.E.; Raoult, V. The Drone Revolution of Shark Science: A Review. Drones 2021, 5, 8.

AMA Style

Butcher PA, Colefax AP, Gorkin RA, Kajiura SM, López NA, Mourier J, Purcell CR, Skomal GB, Tucker JP, Walsh AJ, Williamson JE, Raoult V. The Drone Revolution of Shark Science: A Review. Drones. 2021; 5(1):8.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Butcher, Paul A., Andrew P. Colefax, Robert A. Gorkin, Stephen M. Kajiura, Naima A. López, Johann Mourier, Cormac R. Purcell, Gregory B. Skomal, James P. Tucker, Andrew J. Walsh, Jane E. Williamson, and Vincent Raoult. 2021. "The Drone Revolution of Shark Science: A Review" Drones 5, no. 1: 8.

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