An accurate and adaptable photogrammetric approach for estimating the mass and body condition of pinnipeds using an unmanned aerial system

13Citations
Citations of this article
51Readers
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

Abstract

Measurements of body size and mass are fundamental to pinniped population management and research. Manual measurements tend to be accurate but are invasive and logistically challenging to obtain. Ground-based photogrammetric techniques are less invasive, but inherent limitations make them impractical for many field applications. The recent proliferation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in wildlife monitoring has provided a promising new platform for the photogrammetry of free-ranging pinnipeds. Leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) are an apex predator in coastal Antarctica whose body condition could be a valuable indicator of ecosystem health. We aerially surveyed leopard seals of known body size and mass to test the precision and accuracy of photogrammetry from a small UAS. Flights were conducted in January and February of 2013 and 2014 and 50 photogrammetric samples were obtained from 15 unrestrained seals. UAS-derived measurements of standard length were accurate to within 2.01 ± 1.06%, and paired comparisons with ground measurements were statistically indistinguishable. An allometric linear mixed effects model predicted leopard seal mass within 19.40 kg (4.4% error for a 440 kg seal). Photogrammetric measurements from a single, vertical image obtained using UAS provide a noninvasive approach for estimating the mass and body condition of pinnipeds that may be widely applicable.

Cite

CITATION STYLE

APA

Krause, D. J., Hinke, J. T., Perryman, W. L., Goebel, M. E., & LeRoi, D. J. (2017). An accurate and adaptable photogrammetric approach for estimating the mass and body condition of pinnipeds using an unmanned aerial system. PLoS ONE, 12(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187465

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free