Wildlife from Space

Wildlife from Space

Many populations of wildlife are remote inaccessible or difficult to monitor. The advent of sub-metre, Very-High-Resolution satellite imagery may enable us study these animals in a much more efficient way.

Over the past decade BAS scientist have led investigations using satellite technology to identify, count and monitor Antarctic and other species of wildlife. We have tested the capability of new satellites, applied methods to various species and developed automated counting techniques. These innovative developments have led to breakthroughs in the understanding of some of the targeted species and an uptake of the new technology by many other institutions and academics.

The main families of animals we have focussed on are:

  • Combine the expertise remote sensing expertise of the Mapping and Geographic Information Centre (MAGIC) with the BAS Ecosystems team to deliver innovative, impactful and world-leading science outputs
  • To provide innovative world-leading solutions to provide answers and advice to key conservation questions for policy-makers, government and international stakeholders on wildlife populations using remote sensing methods
  • To develop techniques and methods that facilitate the finding, monitoring and understand of polar wildlife and, where appropriate, to transfer this knowledge to other similar challenges globally

Jaume Forcada

Marine Mammal Leader

Ecosystems team

Peter Fretwell

Geographic Information Officer

Mapping and GIS team

Jennifer Jackson

Molecular Phylogeneticist

Ecosystems team

Richard Phillips

Seabird Ecologist Foodweb

Ecosystems team

Iain Staniland

Marine Mammal Ecologist

Ecosystems team

Phil Trathan

Predators in Ecosystems/WPM

Ecosystems team

Hannah Cubaynes

PhD Student

Premdeep Gill

PhD Student

Watching whales from space

1 November, 2018

Scientists have used detailed high-resolution satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies’ DigitalGlobe, to detect, count and describe four different species of whales. Reported this week in the journal Marine Mammal …

NEWS STORY: Satellites spot seabird poo!

11 December, 2014

Seabird poo has unique spectral signature visible from satellite images Scientists have discovered that penguin and seabird poo (guano) from colonies around the Antarctic Peninsula has a unique spectral signature …

NEWS STORY: Emperor Penguins’ adaptation skills

24 June, 2014

New research using satellite images reveals that emperor penguins are more willing to relocate than previously thought A new study led by the University of Minnesota offers new insights on …

PRESS RELEASE: Satellites identify whales

12 February, 2014

Satellites help spot whales Scientists have demonstrated how new satellite technology can be used to count whales, and ultimately estimate their population size. Using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery, …

PRESS RELEASE: Antarctic emperor penguins

8 January, 2014

Antarctic emperor penguins may be adapting to warmer temperatures A new study of four Antarctic emperor penguin colonies suggest that unexpected breeding behaviour may be a sign that the birds …

PRESS RELEASE: Penguins surveyed from space

13 April, 2012

Scientists count penguins from space A new study using satellite mapping technology reveals there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than was previously thought. The results provide an …

First Recorded Loss of an Emperor Penguin Colony

10 March, 2011

Scientists at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have recently described the loss of a small colony of emperor penguins on an island off the West Antarctic Peninsula. The loss is attributed …