Dolphin age, pod health revealed with drone photos

Dolphins are photographed leaping out of the water. (Contributed photo/ Marine Mammal Research Program. NOAA Fisheries Permit #21476)

Using unoccupied aerial system (UAS), or drone photography, researchers from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) are now able to determine the age-structure of free-ranging dolphin groups. This work will aid monitoring the health of dolphin populations and inform timely conservation efforts. The findings of the study that developed and applied this new technique were published in Ecology and Evolution.