discussion / Marine Conservation  / 2 July 2016

Sea turtle identification through pattern matching

This week I have been attending the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Conference in Singapore. Although marine conservation is not the main objective of the conference there have been some fellow marine conservation scientists here doing some interesting things.

The Large Marine Vertebrates Project LAMAVE and the Perhentian Turtle Project, from the Philippines and Malaysia respectively, have been using pattern recognition software to help identify sea turtles to the individual level. Pattern recognition software is more commonly known for whale shark ID and sometimes sharks in the marine environment but for turtles this is relatively new.

It would be great to hear if there are other projects or people using this kind of software. At first glance it seems like this method could be far less invasive and cost-effective than other mark-recapture methods, like tagging, so it would be great to hear if there are more examples of its application.

Also are there other methods out there or that are being developed that could be used for mark-recapture that don't require tagging?!