WU Today Technologies for Ecosystem Damage Prevention
1. Bandon Bay Project: Using GIS and Remote Sensing for Monitoring and preventing ecosystem destruction
Bandon Bay, a large watershed area, is located near Walailak University. From 2018 until 2022 and 2023, the WU researcher received a research scholarship from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and ARDA to continue research work, including both oceanography and ecology in Bandon Bay. A research team from Walailak University, government researchers, local authorities, and TFFA (Marine product industry) conducted research together. The objectives of the research were to monitor water and sediment quality, fishing gear practices, oceanography, and land use in both agriculture and industry in surrounding areas. The Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing were applied for data gathering, analyzing, and predicting. The results taken from GIS and remote sensing are used for area illustration or mapping. These technological tools are adept in aquatic ecosystem prevention because the environmental situation will be reported in the form of an area that helps clarify the environmental situation in each zone of Bandon Bay.
Not only technologies can prevent damage to the ecosystem, but also apply GIS and Remote sensing to illustrate spawning habitats, nursery ground, and growth prediction of marine animals. Thus, the advancement of GIS and remote sensing has made it possible to prevent ecosystem damage and minimize negative impacts from marine utilization in Ban Don Bay.
Figure 1 Land use in Bandon Bay (GIS)
Figure 2 Land use in Bandon Bay (Remote Sensing)
Figure 3 Physical environmental survey
Figure 4 Environmental data collected by the Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing
Figure 5 Monitoring Environmental data and prediction model
2. CTD Sensor network for monitoring environmental conditions in Coral reef ecosystem
Thailand is home to stunning coral reefs in both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Coral reefs are critical to biological diversity, but coral bleaching incessantly occurs in numerous areas. Also, the recovery operation is problematic as Phuket province is far from Walailak University. WU researchers were assigned to use a CTD sensor network to measure environmental conditions near coral ecosystems and conduct tsunami research on Racha Island in Phuket Province. From 2020 to 2022 and afterward, Walailak University organized a coral sensor network project to monitor the changing temperature, conductivity, and depth of the sea by placing a CTD sensor (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth sensors) at Khon Khae Bay and Patok Bay on Racha Island, Phuket Province. Three years after the project’s beginning, in 2022, the researcher expanded the study area and installed a CTD sensor network in Khon Khae Bay and Patok Bay to monitor environmental data. The collected data were utilized for management strategies and policymakers to prevent damage to the coral ecosystem in Phuket province.
3. Aerial Survey using UAV-drone for Dugong, Turtle, and Dolphin study
In 2022, scientists from the Center for Scientific and Technological Equipment at Walailak University conducted the exploration of rare marine animals in Krabi Province. This exploration was carried out through collaboration between Walailak University, the Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (Lower Andaman Sea), and the Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (Central Gulf of Thailand). The survey involved the use of a two-seater fixed-wing aircraft for aerial surveys, applying a line transect method. The pilots and international volunteer pilots who participated in this survey utilized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV drones) for water-based surveys in the areas around Koh Pu, Koh Sriboya, Ao Nammao, and nearby islands in Krabi Province.
The preliminary survey revealed the presence of 34 dugongs (including 7 mother-calf pairs), 7 Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis), and 36 sea turtles. Observations of their health indicated that dugongs exhibited behaviors such as foraging in seagrass beds and mating behaviors. Additionally, a significant number of mother-calf dugong pairs were found, suggesting a positive trend in the population of new dugong generations in the area. This trend also applies to Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins and sea turtles.
Goal 14: Life below water
Goal 4: Quality education
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals