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Threatened Weedy Sea Dragon Tracked Using ‘Facial Recognition’ Software

Source: ABC/Nicole Chettle - May 17, 2017 in Featured, Science/Tech

Threatened Weedy Sea Dragon Tracked Using ‘Facial Recognition’ Software
Photo: James Rosindell/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sydney scientists are using the marine equivalent of facial recognition software to photograph and track weedy seadragons off the coast of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

They fear the species, which is endemic to Australia, could be dying out in some areas and may need to be reclassified from near threatened to endangered.

Selma Klanten, a marine biologist at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), is conducting a two-year study into the species, which is found in waters from Port Stephens, north of Sydney, across the south of the continent including Tasmania and in Western Australia.

“They are iconic and they’re endemic. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. And once we lose them, we will never get them back,” Dr Klanten said.

Dr Klanten has enlisted the help of expert divers and citizen scientists, including Kris O’Keefe. These divers photograph the fish and analyse their colourful flanks.

 

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