Photogrammetry entails making quantitative measurements from photographs, typically requiring an estimate of scale (= distance / focal length) to adjust pixel measurements in images to real size. We use photogrammetry to provide data on length, growth and body condition to infer the health of individual whales and dolphins, and for describing the abundance and structure of cetacean schools.

We have used parallel-lasers The
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NOAA Fisheries disclaimer to provide scale in oblique photographs of cetaceans, but our primarily approach is to use aircraft platforms to collect vertical images from precisely-measured altitudes directly above whales and dolphins. Over the past 40 years, we have successfully collected aerial photogrammetry data from cetaceans in a wide range of study areas ranging from the tropics to high latitudes in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and in Southern Ocean waters around Antarctica. Past projects include studies of school size, stock structure and demographics of pelagic dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific, and blue whale stock determination based on morphometrics. Current Projects include studies of growth and body condition to infer the nutritional status of endangered killer whales, behavioral response of dolphins to sonar exposure, the condition of endangered and recovering large whales and the health of whales in Antarctica’s changing marine ecosystems.

Current projects