Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Droning Adventure!!

This week, the MCSS Banyan Tree team started their first droning adventure. 
Accessible satellite imagery of Google maps, GIS and Google earth is either outdated or holds insufficient image processing quality. As we wanted to analyze the current hydrological situation, habitat types, invasive plant species distribution and vegetation status of the wetland area at Anse Intendance, we had to create or own, high definition map of the study site Anse Intendance. 
Currently, drones are a cutting edge technology and are mainly used by civilians, media, engineers and researchers. Drone based imagery and video material is mostly used for aerial photography, mapping, surveillance, transport and filming. 
The application of drones opens new, cheap and quick research possibilities such as the surveillance of inaccessible areas and shy animals, the production of 3D maps and vegetation maps, the creation of digital surface or terrain models, anti-poaching controls, animal counts, sustainable land use management techniques and even for marine conservation measures. 

The Anse Intendance wetland was and will be mapped through a Phantom 4 pro drone which out-competes our old drones through an extremely long battery life of 20 minutes, an automatic mapping application which strongly facilitates the whole mapping progress, the automatic recording of GPS points and a camera which has a resolution of 20 megapixel. The drone was and will be flown at a height of 80 m and with a front\side picture overlap of 60/70 % respectively. The high resolution and quality of the acquired orthomosaic will allows us to define different habitat types and spot invasive plant species. This information is crucial for any restoration work which includes for example native plant nurseries and invasive species removal. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Milli's final blog

Milli's final blog 

Hello again! 
Another week has passed and sadly, my work experience is officially over.  
Just as predicted, there was a lot going on in the second week too;  
On Monday I visited Cerf Island to take a look at Savi's project. After the beach cleaning he taught the volunteers and me about corals, reefs, rays, seaweed and loads of other interesting facts. Afterwards, we observed sea urchins, sea stars, fish and the coral nursery on the snorkel trail and went for a little hike to the cemetery and the viewpoint, from which we had a beautiful view of St. Anne's, Ile Moyenne, Long and Round. 
Back on Mahé, terrapin traps were set up at different sites in the Anse Forbans wetland, which we checked every day, but there were no terrapins caught until Friday. Three black mud individuals had been captured by our traps, who will be measured for identification today (Monday 10th).

(The black mud terrapins that crawled into our traps on Friday) 

(One of the caught terrapins) 

On Wednesday I joined Vanessa for the Turtle patrol, but it's currently not the season for Hawksbill turtles so there were no tracks to be seen. It was educational nevertheless, because she told me about the turtle's nesting behavior, how to tell Green Turtles and Hawksbills apart by their tracks and experienced cases of poaching. 
The rest of the week consisted mainly of checking the traps, working on a new website for MCSS and starting with my big school report. 
All in all - even though it was only for a far too short time, I learned a lot about turtles, terrapins, wetlands, corals, how to use drones to create maps and gained more experience than I could have at any other workplace – I am absolutely happy and pleased with my choice of school internship!