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Science Weekly: Drones Zoom in on Butterfly Conservation

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They’re known for creating spectacular videos from great heights, as a possibility for doorstep delivery, and are a controversial source of public debate.

I’m speaking about drones, of course. These relatively small flying machines have found their way into almost every public space as a hobby or entrepreneurial venture in the last few years. And their practical applications now range from the militaristic to scientific.

In a paper published this July in Landscape Ecology, the use of aerial photographs by drones was analyzed as a tool to evaluate and predict suitable microhabitats for the larvae of endangered butterfly species. Jan C. Habel at the Technical University of Munich led a groups of scientists looking at how high resolution photographs of only few square centimeters could detect ideal spaces for butterfly eggs and larvae, which are highly sensitive to their environments.

Foto: M. Bauer / TUM (EurekAlert!)

A comprehensive but readable summary of this paper on innovative biological conservation became available Friday on EurekAlert! and can be found here.

Who knew that drones could be beneficial to the beings with which they share the sky?

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