article / 10 March 2022

News: The Latest in Conservation Tech

Check out this round-up of three of the latest news stories from the conservation tech world.  See more conservation tech news by subscribing to our bi-monthly digest. 

Lighted fishing nets may save sharks, sea turtles from accidental entrapment

In this article, you'll learn about how attaching LED lights to fishing nets may be able to significantly reduce bycatch, with research showing that this system reduced overall bycatch by 63% and bycatch of sharks by 95% in tests.

This article also discusses a major hurdle in scaling this system for use in the fishing industry: overcoming the barrier caused by the high cost of LED batteries and operation. Solar powered options may one day offer a solution.

Scientists’ secret weapon to monitor the Southern Ocean? Elephant seals

In this Mongabay article, you'll read about how elephant seals outfitted with data-logging gear are helping scientists understand their natural Antarctic environment and global climate processes. This data is crucial in understanding how climate change is impacting this critical ocean region. 

This article also discusses how using tagged seals in this study allows scientists to collect data in areas that would otherwise be difficult to access and gather data in due to factors like thick sea ice. 

Scientists Capture Airborne Animal DNA for the First Time

In this article, you'll learn about one of the most-discussed conservation tech stories of 2022 so far: a new eDNA technique allowing scientists to detect species through airborne DNA. While eDNA has been growing in popularity and effectiveness for detecting species through water samples, this test conducted in two zoos with captive animals is the first time eDNA data has been collected through air sampling.

In one test, the UK research team was able to detect 25 animal species, as well as detect the movement of animals through physical space. If this system works well in the field, it could be revolutionary for identifying, studying, and protecting endangered species. 

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