Research team

The team behind this project included researchers from science departments of two separate universities in The Netherlands:

  • The Department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality at Wageningen University
  • The Department of Environmental Sciences at Radboud University Nijmege

This project led to the following MSc thesis by Iris de Winter: The behaviour, activity pattern and substrate use of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in a heavily grazed seagrass meadow, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, 2012.

Read/download the thesis

Project description

  • Location: East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
  • Challenge: Get a complete overview of the green turtles' spatial distribution over a seagrass meadow and better understand whether these animals prefer to foraging individually or in small groups.
  • Coverage: 5 sq km (1.93 sq mi.)
  • Number of flights: 5
  • Weather: sunny / partly cloudy
  • Precision: 2 cm (0.78 in.) / pixel

Experience and results

The team was able to count the number of green turtles on the seagrass using the aerial images the swinglet CAM acquired.

For each turtle the team noted whether it was grazing in gaps or in intact parts of the seagrass meadow - this analysis was based on the location of an animal's head, which could be distinguished on the high-resolution photographs.

In addition, the swinglet CAM enabled the researchers to also count the number of turtles in close proximity of other turtles, and the number of turtles that were individually present.