The (sometimes mis-) adventures of learning to use drones for ecological research

Friday 18 August, 2017
Mathews Theatre D, Mathews Building, UNSW Kensington Campus

Drones are cheaper than ever, and the types of information they can capture is growing too. The learning curve for getting them in the air and collecting data is surprisingly friendly too. However, generating quality data to answer quantitative research questions is more difficult, and takes much longer to learn how to do well. This talk is a whirl-wind tour of diving into the world of drones for ecological and environmental research. The study areas range from coastal forests and swamps, to flooded inland wetlands, to arid deserts. The research questions range from fire behaviour and ecology, to counting birds and nests in large breeding colonies, to measuring geomorphological features of sand dunes. The potential of drones for environmental research is remarkable, but there are serious considerations before jumping in – this talk will try to provide a background to how and why you might get into it, as well as the potential pitfalls to be aware of.


Dr Mitchell Lyons is a postdoc in the Centre for Ecosystem Science in the School of BEES. His research is a mixture of ecology, remote sensing and statistics, and is currently focused on development and testing of statistical methods that broadly fall under the umbrella of ecology.