The Conservation UAV Research Unit is an initative at the University of Alberta Applied Conservation Ecology Laboratory launched in 2014 to develop and leverage low-cost UAVs as tools for conservation research and monitoring.
We operate a fleet of 8 VTOL quadcopters and 3 fixed-wing aircraft throughout Alberta in support of ACE Lab research activities, bringing incredible new perspectives and data streams to bear in our dual mission of discovery and outreach.
Discovery & Research
We conduct aerial survey operations in multiple spectrums and resolutions to reconstruct landscapes and habitats digitally to investigate the fundamental forces and mechanisms that shape our biotic communities. Using standardized and validated flight protocols at a large diversity of sites regularly over the passage of time allows us to perceive patterns and trends in habitat distribution and productivity over space and time. The versatility of UAVs frees us from relying on traditional costly ground measurements, LIDAR surveys, and space-based remote sensing products, and gives us the resolution to capture and examine snapshots our natural world like never before.
Communication & Education
With an eye in the sky, we gather powerful visualizations of entire landscapes from perspectives unavailable to crews on the ground. Pictures speak a thousand words, and videos, even more so. We aim to use drone videography as a tool to bring our students and stakeholders closer to our amazing natural heritage than mere words and photographs can ever hope to.