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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #437024

Research Project: Quantifying Invasive Insect Movement Within and Across Landscapes Using Laser Detection Technology and Unmanned Aerial Systems - Marquette Univ.

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-032-011-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 15, 2019
End Date: May 14, 2023

The objectives of this project are to: 1) develop an unmanned aerial system (UAS) platform for autonomous detection of target insects, 2) develop algorithms to map the position of marked insects, and 3) facilitate pest risk assessment by examining dispersal patterns within and across landscapes.

Target insects (European corn borer and brown marmorated stink bug) will be mass reared and marked with fluorescent powder dyes. Dyes will be evaluated to minimize detrimental effects on the target species and maximize distance of observation; however, no negative impacts are anticipated based on previous trials. UASs will be constructed with a mounted laser and camera system for detection of marked insects. The laser-camera system will be evaluated for efficacy across different distances and interference between target pests. This technique will include creation of algorithms to detect individual organism images at different heights from the UAS. After the algorithms are complete, target insects will be released into experimental plots at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station, and the UAS system will be used to track and record insect dispersal. The technology will then be expanded to track and record multiple pest organisms simultaneously.