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New Homepage Feature: Splash Drones Assist UVI-CMES with Sea Turtle Research

Counting sea turtles in Brewers Bay might not seem difficult, but ask any researcher at UVI’s Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (UVI-CMES) and you will hear a story about endangered sea turtles that must be protected.  Marine biology researcher Paul Jobsis and his students at UVI are working to save sea turtles from extinction. 

The Green sea turtles and Hawksbill turtles that reside in Brewer’s Bay are currently on the endangered species list, and their survival is becoming increasingly dependent on the care and accuracy with which they are monitored.  Fortunately, research teams at UVI-CMES are dedicated to tracking sea turtle populations and behavior patterns in and beyond Brewers Bay.  The recent use of a splash drone, provided by Virgin Islands Drone Services and flown by local enthusiast Nick Lynch, to determine the accuracy of the typical monitoring surveys has provided an aerial view of the turtles in the bay. 

“Counting sea turtles using swimming surveys can be tricky,” said Howard Forbes, Jr., a research and public service extension specialist. “Because they’re underwater, it’s easy to count a turtle twice or miss turtles that swim out of view to avoid the survey team.  But the footage we get from the splash drone allows us to go back and check the accuracy of the swimming survey.  The images we collect are also useful for papers and presentations that contribute to our understanding of marine organisms.” To read more visit the UVI homepage – www.uvi.edu