UAS-wildlife consultant works
Technology in field biology
Current professional affiliations:
Departamento de Biología Animal. Universidad de Málaga, Spain
General research interests
As a scientist I am mainly interested in conservation biology, a crisis-driven discipline whose goal is to provide principles and tools for balancing resource use with the preservation of functioning ecosystems.
Current main line of research
I focus my work on investigating the feasibility of using new technologies, mainly Unmanned
Aircraft Systems (UAS, RPAS or drones) and more recently, Internet of Things, for
conservation biology. I like the challenge of using innovative approaches and participating on
multidisciplinary teams where project results are immediately transferred to the industry and
therefore become rapidly useful for society.
UAS are capable of providing high-resolution spatio-temporal information on animals' locations
and habitat characteristics at ecologically relevant scales with a moderate cost.
From a conservationist perspective, I have exploited these UAS performances identifying use cases
where the systems can immediately improve conventional methodology by reducing time,
costs and disturbance (i.e endangered species protection in Mulero-Pázmány, Stolper, Negro et al.
2014, or infrastructures' impact assessment in Mulero-Pázmány, Negro and Ferrer 2014).
From an ecological approach, I address topics in which the use of these systems produce relevant
data that are difficult to obtain by other means (i.e. fine scale habitat selection studies in
Rodríguez, Mulero-Pázmány, Rodríguez et al. 2012) contributing to understand animal movement
patterns. I recently started a line of work where UAS serve to analyze the distribution and
aggregation of ungulates (Mulero-Pázmány, Barasona, Acevedo et al. 2015), which has large application in studies of the epidemiology of diseases shared between livestock and wildlife (Barasona, Mulero-Pázmány, Acevedo et al. 2014) and helps developing management measures such as biosecurity and health programs.
In the frame of the Andalusian Project of Excelence AEROMAB, I have worked on UAS applications on a variety of animal species, primarily birds and ungulates, using diverse analytical and modeling approaches, confirming that these systems can significantly contribute to spatial ecology, wildlife monitoring and farming management. This work was the topic of my Ph.D.
Recently, in the European Project PLANET, with a team mainly formed by engineers of different
fields from 12 scientific institutions, I had the opportunity to start working in the integration
of UAS into wireless sensor networks, the so-called Internet of Things. This involves the
cooperation of different objects that are able to obtain information using sensors (i.e. tagged
animals, field stations) and share it with other objects (“Smart objects” i.e. UAS or unmanned
ground vehicles) able to perform actions such as moving, deploying other sensors or gathering
samples, according to the received information for effective environmental monitoring.
I believe that this is the future of the technological integration of UAS in field biology (i.e. pollution
detection in Schwarzbach, Laiacker, Mulero-Pázmány et al 2014, integrated wildlife surveillance and
fine scale movement ecology) that will lead to a scientific revolution from "remote sensing" to
Other research interests
I am also interested on better understanding how human activities affect wildlife, and how can we use this information to implement effective management strategies.
I have recently started a collaborative project with Manuela González Suárez and Marcello D'Amico about road ecology in Kruger National Park (South Africa) that aims to assess the behavioural responses of ungulates to roads and to distinguish what are the factors (traffic volume, types of roads) underlying them, which led to (Mulero-Pázmány, D'Amico and González 2015)
Another topic in which I am also involved is the study of habitat fragmentation effects on birds and reptiles in steppe areas. For some years I have been conducting field campaigns in the Poniente almeriense (South East of Spain), an area that has been invaded by greenhouses. Although currently I can only dedicate some of my spare time to this subject I hope I could return to it and further analyze the results.
Finally, I am also interested in sustainable tourism, which was the subject of my MBA master thesis and in ethnography, two topics that I combined by starting up a small local tourism agency.
RECENT PROJECT: PLANET
Design, development and validation of an integrated platform to enable the deployment, operation and maintenance of heterogeneous networked Cooperating Objects.
Validated for environmental monitoring in Doñana Biological Reserve (Spain).
"The difference between science fiction and science is timing" C.B. Carlile
“He learned to communicate with birds and discovered their conversation was fantastically boring. It was all to do with wind speed, wingspans, power-to-weight ratios and a fair bit about berries.” D. Adams
"That is the problem with the government these days. They want to do things all the time; that is not what people want. People want to be left alone to look after their cattle" A. McCall Smith