Project Leaders

Christophe Cleguer

Christophe Cleguer


Holly Raudino

Holly Raudino

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Project Collaborators

Partnerships and novel technologies for improved dugong research

Project 3.10



The challenge:


Dugongs have great cultural value to northern Australia’s Indigenous and broader communities and have high national and international conservation significance.

Many factors are known to affect the health and survival of dugong populations, for example accidental capture by fishers and habitat loss. However, much is still to be learned about them, and current knowledge gaps limit Land and Sea Managers’ and communities’ abilities of to plan and manage those activities that might potentially impact their habitat, numbers and health.

By using emerging technologies, great opportunities now exist to address these data shortfalls, at lower cost, and with greater efficiency than ever before.

This project addresses these information gaps by collaboratively developing and testing better ways to undertake dugong focussed research.


Our approach:


The project will collate, test and adapt new technologies, and explore and developing methods that can be used easily by non-experts. In collaboration, scientists, managers and Indigenous rangers will:

  • develop drone and plane-based aerial photography protocols;
  • utilise and refine artificial intelligence systems to count dugongs from aerial images;
  • explore the feasibility of remote measurement of size and body characteristics;
  • compare and align old and new survey methods;
  • use genetic methods to understand how individuals and populations mix and move; and
  • develop an Indigenous community-led monitoring program in the Kimberley region.


Expected outcomes:


Knowledge to confidently manage a sustainable, healthy dugong population.

Partnerships to support Indigenous monitoring and management of dugongs.

Innovative monitoring and increased community involvement and oversight.