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August 21, 2019

Bot Meets Whale: Best Practices for Mitigating Negative Interactions Between Marine Mammals and MicroROVs

Publisher: Frontiers in Marine Science

Funders: Animal Welfare Institute, Blackbeard Biologic, OpenROV, Patreon, Pew Charitable Trusts

Authors: Andrew Thaler, Asha de Vos, Courtney Smith, Dominik Fretz, E. C. M. Parsons, Naomi A. Rose

Language: English

Low-cost, portable, observation-class, underwater remotely operated vehicles (microROVs), which can be transported and operated by a single user, are increasingly common tools in scientific, industrial, commercial, and recreational ocean application. Over the last decade, the use of microROVs has boomed; four microROV manufacturers were poised to ship over 10,000 "underwater drones" in 2018 (Thaler, personal observation). This nascent industry provides an affordable underwater observation solution for marine science, conservation, education, and citizen science programs, as well as community groups and other stakeholders wishing to conduct independent marine environmental surveys and provides users with an opportunity to view marine wildlife with minimal disturbance (Figure 1).