The bright spot is happening here on Bogoslof. Up until 2015 when we last surveyed the area, we saw exponential growth rates. My initial take on this year is that the eruptions don’t seem to have impacted that growth very much.
The drone surveys performed here on Bogoslof could be really pivotal for us. It was an opportunity to test out a new way of counting fur seals using unmanned aerial systems and various camera systems.
As we advance this methodology, we will be working on developing machine learning programs to help us review images, identify and count fur seals more efficiently and safely (for both humans and seals) with minimal disturbance to the animals.
This technology shows a lot of promise and we are hoping that we got enough output from the drone to compare estimation methodology. We are excited to be moving in new directions that will enable us to deliver needed science and information for the fishing industry and resource managers to make decisions that not only protect this species but also ensure fishing opportunities.