Featured photo: Frank Todd
Senior biologist Brent Stewart of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego is spending six weeks in some of the most remote spots on the planet.
Stewart left Ushuaia, Argentina on December 20th aboard the 345-foot MS Expedition, a small car ferry-turned-cruise ship that will deliver him to the Antarctic peninsula. Passengers will arrive at various islands via Zodiac boats.
The subject of this expedition is focused on penguin colonies. While conducting population studies on King, Adele, and Gentoo penguins, Stewart will also be conducting lectures from aboard the MS Expedition.
While a research schedule of the expedition exists, everything is weather permitting. Weather patterns are known to change drastically in minutes on the Antarctic peninsula and can sway from mild to extremely dangerous in the blink of an eye.
To conduct his population studies, Stewart will be using a small drone known as a quadcopter. He added, “In 15-to-20 minutes, you can survey large colonies and with high resolution photography. I’ll be looking at the penguin’s habitats.”
The use of drones to study wild animals has given us an unprecedented new view of animal behavior and habitats. Unobstructed high resolution views of animals behaving naturally, undisturbed by the drones will offer amazing new data into their world, perhaps also lending clues for their continued conservation.