When it comes to collecting data, sharks are not the easiest animals to study.
"You can't see them most of the time - they're under water. They move around a lot," says Martín Benadvides, a PhD candidate at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.
To better understand shark populations off North Carolina's coast, Benavides is teaming up with David Johnston, director of the Duke Marine Lab Unoccupied Systems Facility in Beaufort. Together they are testing out drone technology on shark decoys.
"It's the first study of it's kind," says Benavides. "We're the first ones to take a drone, fly it over decoys of sharks, and figure out what characteristics allow us to detect them."
This project is funded by the North Carolina Aquariums.
Benavides's research is funded by CONCYTEC (Peruvian National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation) for International doctoral scholarship.