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Counting penguins from aerial surveys

Counting penguins from aerial surveys

HiDef are pleased to announce a new collaborative project with British Antarctic Survey (BAS) with financial support from the World Wide Fund for Nature, UK (WWF UK).

Grant Humphries (Lead data scientist; HiDef) has developed an artificial intelligence solution to undertake counts of breeding Pygoscelis penguins in photo-mosaiced aerial images from colonies on the Antarctic Peninsula obtained by BAS. Many of these penguin colonies have not been visited for decades or are difficult to count due to the large colony sizes. This project will allow for key information to be provided to stakeholders for tourism and fisheries management as well as climate change and other ecological studies. The intention is to provide a step change in understanding about Pygoscelis penguin population change for the Antarctic Peninsula.

Management of the Antarctic krill stock is done via the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) who are working towards ecosystem-based management approaches. Thus, up-to-date information on the status of penguin populations is vital towards conservation efforts in the Antarctic.  Automated methods for quickly assessing penguin populations will greatly enhance our ability to monitor them for the development and study of Marine Protected Areas.

BAS have provided HiDef with access to orthographic images of several large colonies on the Antarctic peninsula for analysis. This allowed for the generation of an easy to use work-flow for quick end-to end processing of aerial imagery as it comes in from the field.


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