Flight over Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) and calf in El Doradillo, Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
Recently, researchers began to use extremely high-resolution satellite pictures and image-processing software to detect whales on or near the ocean’s surface, using these patrons found in right whale’s head (see more at Nature). The platform can pinpoint things as small as 50 centimeters, although waves and murky water can confuse the program. Southern right whales were chosen to test because they are slow and shallow swimmers, but it could be used to track other animals.
- Video: Matia Small
- Reference (Open Access): Fretwell et al (2014) Whales from Space: Counting Southern Right Whales by Satellite. PLoS ONE
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