Thursday, December 29, 2016

USU professor says satellites can help track animal abundance

In a multi-institution study funded by NASA, a Utah State University ecologist says satellite imagery is key to studying wildlife abundance in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West. David Stoner, a research associate in the USU department of wildland resources, reached that conclusion after conducting a study on mule deer and mountain lion distribution in Utah, Nevada and Arizona with colleagues from USU, other institutions throughout the U.S., and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. State land management officials have always been looking for better ways to come up with reasonable population estimates of animals. Trying to do that can be very time-consuming and expensive, Stoner said. So Stoner and his colleagues at other institutions used imagery from NASA satellites and combined that with the best estimates of abundance of animal populations from state agencies in Utah. The combination of data allowed the researchers to build a model so they could estimate abundance of animals across a wide area...more

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