Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Satellite Images Help Species Conservation

Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Satellite Images Help Species Conservation

Article excerpt

Organisms living on small islands are particularly threatened by extinction. However, data are often lacking to objectively assess these threats. A team of German and British researchers used satellite imagery to assess the conservation status of endangered reptiles and amphibians of the Comoro archipelago in the Western Indian Ocean. The researchers used their results to point out which species are most threatened and to define priorities for future protected areas. The study was published recently in the open access journal ZooKeys.

A typical problem in species conservation efforts, particularly in tropical regions, is the lack of information on the extent of suitable habitat available for threatened species. "The analysis of satellite images allows us to precisely estimate the remaining extent of rainforest and other natural habitats," said Oliver Hawlitschek from the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology. This approach has rarely been used in species conservation, and this is the first time that it is applied to all species of a group in an entire country.

In addition to their satellite imagery analyses, the researchers conducted intensive field surveys in order to detect the habitat preferences of the reptiles. …

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