In the Gulf of Maine, researchers use an APH-22 hexacopter drone to collect data and measure juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna. The purpose of this pilot study was to see if a drone could keep up with the fast-moving tuna and take high-resolution photos that would capture individual fish and schools.
APH-22 hexacopter drone used to measure Atlantic bluefin tuna
The high-resolution photos taken with the APH-22 hexacopter drone allowed researchers to measure the elusive tuna with an accuracy of less than 1 cm. The pilot study was conducted northeast of Cape Cod in the southern parts of the Gulf of Maine which are the foraging grounds of the Atlantic bluefin tuna.
“Multi-rotor unmanned aerial systems won’t replace shipboard surveys or the reliance on manned aircraft to cover a large area,” said Mike Jech, an acoustics researcher at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and lead author of the study, according to Phys.org. “They have a limited flight range due to battery power and can only collect data in bursts. Despite some limitations, they will be invaluable for collecting remote high-resolution images that can provide data at the accuracy and precision needed by managers for growth and ecosystem models of Atlantic bluefin tuna.”
The APH-22 helicopter. Photo credit: ResearchGate, Holly Fearnbach
The Atlantic bluefin tuna has proven to be a fish that is hard to study because it swims incredibly fast and also at times at depths of hundreds of feet below the surface. A fast-flying drone with a high-resolution camera allows the researchers to take precision measurements of the fish that are in constant motion.
“The platform [APH-22 hexacopter drone] is ideal for accurately measuring fish length, width, and the distance between individuals in a school when you apply calibration settings and performance measures,” Jech said. “We were able to locate the hexacopter in three-dimensional space and monitor its orientation to obtain images with a resolution that allowed us to make measurements of individual fish.”
The results of the study that uses the APH-22 hexacopter drone have been published in the March 2020 edition of the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems.
You can find more stories about drones and wildlife here.
Flying drones as a career?
If you want to turn your hobby into your career, practice how to fly your drone safely, and learn what it takes to get your Part 107, be sure to check out the excellent training modules from The Drone U.
Stay in touch!
Subscribe to our Daily Drone News email.*
Submit tips If you have information or tips that you would like to share with us, feel free to submit them here. Support DroneXL.co: You can support DroneXL.co by using these links when you make your next drone purchase: Adorama, Amazon, B&H, BestBuy, eBay, DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec. We make a small commission when you do so at no additional expense to you. Thank you for helping DroneXL grow! FTC: DroneXL.co uses affiliate links that generate income.
* We do not sell, share, rent out or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.