The Undergraduate Bishop’s Earth Research Group (UBERG) is launching an innovative tool to help map and identify the prevalence of invasive aquatic plant species in Eastern Townships’ lakes Brompton and Lovering. UBERGaiter is an aquatic drone developed and built by Bishop’s students under the supervision of Professor Bruno Courtemanche, of Bishop’s University’s Environment and Geography Department.
“Designing the UBERGaiter has been an exciting, hands-on projects for students involved with the UBERG team, and we now get to see whether all our hard work is rewarded with success,” explains Professor Courtemanche. “If we are successful, we will be in a position to better understand where invasive plant species are found in the lakes we examine, and hopefully this knowledge will prove useful to stakeholders involved with the preservation of those ecosystems.”
Starting on June 4, 2019, swimmers, boaters and residence owners living on the shores of lakes Brompton and Lovering may notice a new craft tirelessly cruising around the waters. The UBERGaiter is an electric-propelled aquatic drone. Student-designed software charts its course. Its mission is to map lake bottoms through a camera feeding a recognition algorithm which allows it to identify aquatic plant species.
Through UBERG, Bishop’s students have the opportunity to get actively involved in exciting research projects as undergraduate students; such opportunities for experiential learning reflect Bishop’s commitment towards academic excellence.
The UBERGaiter project is also an illustration of Bishop’s active engagement within the Eastern Townships community through knowledge mobilization. By developing the UBERGaiter drone to help map the prevalence of invasive species of aquatic plants, Bishop’s University will provide local environment protection groups such as the RAPPEL and waterfront residents associations with key information for the development of action plans to preserve at-risk ecosystems.
The UBERG team wishes to thank local Sherbrooke business Kenny U-Pull, for graciously providing the batteries that power UBERGaiter.
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