Volume 45, No. 1



Volumes > 37 (2010-->) Volumes 28-37 (2000-09) Volumes 18-27 (1990-99) Volumes 5-17 (1978-89)
a.k.a. Cormorant

Quick Search by author or article title:


Will drones reduce investigator disturbance to surface-nesting seabirds?


Authors

STEPHANIE B. BORRELLE & ANDREW T. FLETCHER

Institute for Applied Ecology New Zealand, School of Science, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand (stephborrelle@gmail.com)


Received 6 September 2015, accepted 7 March 2017

Date Pubished: 2017/04/15
Date Online: 2017/04/02


Download PDF
Appendix 1

Citation

BORRELLE, S.B. & FLETCHER, A.T. 2017. Will drones reduce investigator disturbance to surface-nesting seabirds?. Marine Ornithology 45: 89-94.


Key words: ethics, drones, investigator impact, monitoring, technology, unmanned aerial vehicle


Abstract

Many colonial-nesting seabird species are highly threatened, and their conservation is a global priority. Yet long-term population data for many species are sporadic, given the location, physical nature of many colonies, and known negative impacts of investigator interaction. The low cost of unmanned aerial systems (UASs), or drones, has democratized access to remote sensing data with high spatial and temporal resolution. Although there are limitations and risks of employing drones for conservation and data-collection purposes, the benefits include the ability to monitor a greater number of colonies at higher spatial and temporal resolutions than traditional field methods. The establishment of drone-operation guidelines, however, is an important first-step in minimizing disturbance to surface-nesting birds, given that many surface-nesting birds are particularly vulnerable to disturbances that can reduce reproductive output and increase stress responses. Research on the disturbance to wildlife from drones is in its infancy, but here we briefly review whether and how studies have evaluated the impact of drones on their study species. We review as well the variability in physiological and behavioural responses observed, and whether the studies evaluated the risk of malfunction or crashes, common with off-the-shelf drone platforms. We found that attention to evaluating disturbance and risk assessments has been limited, but preliminary evidence suggests drones can reduce disturbance impacts on some species. On the other hand, in the face of widespread drone deployment, inexpensive and rapid data collection should not be put ahead of the potential risk and impact on species.


References

ALTENA, B. & GOEDEMÉ, T. 2014. Assessing UAV platform types and optical sensor specifications. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences II-5: 17-24. doi:10.5194/isprsannals-II-5-17-2014.

ANDERSON, D.W. & KEITH, J.O. 1980. The human influence on seabird nesting success: conservation implications. Biological Conservation 18: 65-80.

BEALE, C.M. & MONAGHAN, P. 2004. Human disturbance: people as predation‐free predators? Journal of Applied Ecology 41: 335-343.

BERGENAS, J., STOHL, R. & GEORGIEFF, A. 2013. The other side of drones: saving wildlife in Africa and managing global crime. Conflict Trends 3: 3-9.

BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL. 2015. Global Conservation Strategy. [Available online at: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/partnership/global-conservation-strategy. Accessed 24 June 2015].

BLACKMER, A.L., ACKERMAN, J.T. & NEVITT, G.A. 2004. Effects of investigator disturbance on hatching success and nest-site fidelity in a long-lived seabird, Leach's storm-petrel. Biological Conservation 116: 141-148.

CADIOU, B. & MONNAT, J.Y. 1996. Parental attendance and squatting in the kittiwake Rissa tridactyla during the rearing period. Bird Study 43: 164-171.

CAREY, M.J. 2009. The effects of investigator disturbance on procellariiform seabirds: a review. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 36: 367-377.

CHABOT, D. & BIRD, D.M. 2015. Wildlife research and management methods in the 21st century: Where do unmanned aircraft fit in? 1. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 3: 137-155.

CHABOT, D., CRAIK, S.R. & BIRD, D.M., 2015. Population census of a large common tern colony with a small unmanned aircraft. PloS One 10: e0122588.

CROXALL, J.P., BUTCHART, S.H., LASCELLES, B., ET AL. 2012. Seabird conservation status, threats and priority actions: a global assessment. Bird Conservation International 22: 1-34.

CRUTSINGER, G.M., SHORT, J. & SOLLENBERGER, R. 2016. The future of UAVs in ecology: an insider perspective from the Silicon Valley drone industry. Journal of Unmanned Aerial Systems 4: 161-168.

DULAVA, S., BEAN, W.T. & RICHMOND, O.M. 2015. Environmental reviews and case studies: applications of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for waterbird surveys. Environmental Practice 17: 201-210.

FEARE, C. J. 1976. The breeding of the Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata in the Seychelles and the effects of experimental removal of its eggs. Journal of Zoology 179: 317-360.

FOWLER, G. S. 1999. Behavioral and hormonal responses of Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) to tourism and nest site visitation. Biological Conservation 90: 143-149.

GOEBEL, M.E., PERRYMAN, W.L., HINKE, J.T., ET AL. 2015. A small unmanned aerial system for estimating abundance and size of Antarctic predators. Polar Biology 38: 619-630.

GÖTMARK, F. 1992. The effects of investigator disturbance on nesting birds. In: POWER, D.M. (Ed.) Current Ornithology. Springer. pp. 63-104.

GRÉMILLET, D., PUECH, W., GARCON, V., ET AL. 2012. Robots in ecology: welcome to the machine. Open Journal of Ecology 2: 49-57.

HICKEY, J.J. 1955. Some American population research on gallinaceous birds. In: WOLFSON, A. (Ed.) Recent Studies in Avian Biology. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. pp. 326-396.

HIRSCH, P.D., ADAMS, W.M., BROSIUS, J.P., ET AL. 2011. Acknowledging conservation trade‐offs and embracing complexity. Conservation Biology 25: 259-264.

HODGSON, J.C., BAYLIS, S.M., MOTT, R., ET AL. 2016. Precision wildlife monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles. Scientific Reports 6: 22574.

International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2015. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Online]. [Available online at: www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 14 September 2016].

KEMPER, G. & VASEL, R. 2016. Multi sensor and platforms setups for various airborne applications. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Sciences XLI-B1: 217-220. doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLI-B1-217-2016.

KOSKI, W., ABGRALL, P. & YAZVENKO, S. 2010. An inventory and evaluation of unmanned aerial systems for offshore surveys of marine mammals. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 11: 239-247.

LINCHANT, J., LISEIN, J., SEMEKI, J., ET AL. 2015. Are unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) the future of wildlife monitoring? A review of accomplishments and challenges. Mammal Review 45: 239-252.

McCLELLAND, G., BOND, A., SARDANA, A., ET AL. 2016. Rapid population estimate of a surface-nesting seabird on a remote island using a low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle. Marine Ornithology 44: 215-220.

NIMON, A.J., SCHROTER, R.C. & STONEHOUSE, B. 1995. Heart rate of disturbed penguins. Nature 374: 6521.

NISBET, I.C. & PAUL, E. 2004. RE: Ethical issues concerning animal research outside the laboratory. ILAR Journal 45: 375-377.

RATCLIFFE, N., GUIHEN, D., ROBST, J., ET AL. 2015. A protocol for the aerial survey of penguin colonies using UAVs 1. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 3: 95-101.

RÜMMLER, M.C., MUSTAFA, O., MAERCKER, J., ET AL. 2015. Measuring the influence of unmanned aerial vehicles on Adélie penguins. Polar Biology 39: 1329-1334.

Sanz Muñoz, D., Pereira Valente, J.R., Cerro Giner, J.D., ET AL. 2012. Risk analysis for UAV safe operations: a rationalization for an agricultural environment. In: PERRUZZI, A. (Ed.) Proceedings of the First International Conference on Robotics and Associated High-Technologies and Equipment for Agriculture: Applications of Automated Systems and Robotics for Crop Protection in Sustainable Precision Agriculture (RHEA-2012). Pisa, Italy: Pisa University Press. pp. 235-240.

SARDÀ‐PALOMERA, F., BOTA, G., VINOLO, C., ET AL. 2012. Fine‐scale bird monitoring from light unmanned aircraft systems. Ibis 154: 177-183.

SCHIFFMAN, R. 2014. Drones flying high as new tool for field biologists. Science 344: 459-459.

SINIBALDI, G. & MARINO, L. 2013. Experimental analysis on the noise of propellers for small UAV. Applied Acoustics 74: 79-88.

SMITH, C.E., SYKORA-BODIE, S.T., BLOODWORTH, B., ET AL. 2016. Assessment of known impacts of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on marine mammals: data gaps and recommendations for researchers in the United States 1. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 4: 1-14.

SWENSON, J.E., SANDEGREN, F., BRUNBERG, S., ET AL. 1997. Winter den abandonment by brown bears Ursus arctos: causes and consequences. Wildlife Biology 3: 35-38.

VAN GEMERT, J.C., VERSCHOOR, C.R., METTES, P., EPEMA K., KOH L.P. & WICH, S. 2015. Nature conservation drones for automatic localization and counting of animals. In: AGAPITO L., BRONSTEIN M. & ROTHER C. (Eds.) Computer Vision – ECCV 2014 Workshops. ECCV 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 8925. Springer. pp. 255-270. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16178-5 17.

VAS, E., LESCROËL, A., DURIEZ, O., BOGUSZEWSKI, G. & GRÉMILLET, D. 2015. Approaching birds with drones: first experiments and ethical guidelines. Biology Letters 11: 20140754. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0754.

VERMEULEN, C., LEJEUNE, P., LISEIN, J., ET AL. 2013. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants. PloS One 8: 1-7.

WARHAM, J. 1990. The Petrels: Their Ecology and Breeding Systems. London, UK: Academic Press.

WEISSENSTEINER, M.H., POELSTRA, J.W. & WOLF, J.B. 2015. Low‐budget ready‐to‐fly unmanned aerial vehicles: an effective tool for evaluating the nesting status of canopy‐breeding bird species. Journal of Avian Biology 464: 425-430.

WICH, S., DELLATORE, D., HOUGHTON, M., ET AL. 2015. A preliminary assessment of using conservation drones for Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo abelii) distribution and density 1. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 4: 1-8.

WINKER, K., REED, J. M., ESCALANTE, P., ET AL. 2010. The importance, effects, and ethics of bird collecting. Auk 127: 690-695.

YOUNG, E. 1994. Skua and Penguin: Predator and Prey. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.


© Marine Ornithology 2017