Consumer offer drone scientist from the University of Sunshine Coast spectacular view migrating humpback whales.
Twice a day, three days a week, a hike researchers Sunreef tourist boats in the waters of Mooloolaba.
Tourism researcher Dr. Vicki Schaffer said the drone was inexpensive consumer-grade model is chosen so that the experiment can be repeated in other areas.
"Drones offer a bird's-eye view, it is absolutely changeable game of whales for research, which, to date, have been challenged because of the logistics around approaching whales," she said.
"Drones measure the length whales and control how they interact with each other and how they react to the other in the water.
"For example, we wondered why dolphins join whales during feeding time, and we suspect that this is because milk is dispersed in water. This can really help us to confirm what is going on. "
"Previously, scientists have used the whales from the shore or by boat, using binoculars, while maintaining the necessary approach zone of 100 to 300 meters.
"With special permission from the Commonwealth Government, our research drones can take pictures from above, offering the opportunity to collect more accurate information.
She said that the drones do not seem to disrupt the whale.
owner Sunreef Mooloolaba Dan Hart said his team was excited to assist the USC researchers, since they began their swim with the whales experience in 2014.
"We reserve the spot for each boat during the season, to make it easier for the USC researchers to come out to see the whales, and we strongly support all the research that they do," he said.
"We are committed to the preservation of the marine environment and humpback whales are very special to us, and we love to see them every year during their migration."
USC Honors student Emily Gregory uses frames to measure the length and width of the whales to collect health data, under the leadership of Dr. Kylie scales, Dr. Javier Leon and Dr. Schaffer.
"It removes the distortion and calibrated scale images, which allows us to measure," said Emily.
"Human Health with & # 39 is so important to a dynamic population, reproduction and survival. Their capacity to store energy reserves during the annual migration is crucial. "
She said that the Australian humpback population has increased since whaling was banned in 1970, but new threats such as noise pollution, agriculture krill in the Antarctic and the warming of the seas, have had an impact.
"It is not well known, but the whales play a huge role in our clean air," said Emily.
"Kit cycles urinate important nutrients such as nitrogen and ocean depths of iron to the surface water. These nutrients maintain plankton populations which, in turn, play an important role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It's all tied together. "
"There are so many reasons for us to study, assess and protect the whale," she said.