Vote now for the Dugong Detector in the 2018 Google Impact Challenge


Australia, 9 October 2018– Voting is now open for the 2018 Google Impact Challenge and a project from Murdoch University, led by two members of the Dugong Technical Group Dr Amanda Hodgson and Dr Christophe Cleguer, has made it to the Top 10!

The Dugong MOU is a partner of the Dugong Detector project which will use high-tech innovations to bring a simple, inexpensive ecosystem monitoring solution to coastal communities in 46 countries.

Seagrass meadows, which support half the world’s fisheries and feed 3 billion people, have been vanishing at a rate of 7% per year with an estimated 35% lost already. Dugongs – marine mammals that range across 46 countries and feed almost exclusively on seagrass – can be used as markers to map these underwater ecosystems. Current efforts to locate dugong populations require experts to fly small airplanes in remote areas, which is costly and dangerous. The Dugong Detector instead pairs inexpensive, user-friendly, camera-equipped drones with artificial intelligence programs that can recognise dugongs in photographs. By advancing this technology to improve detection rates, map different aspects of marine environments, and integrate information from users around the world, this project will enable researchers and communities to pool their efforts to monitor and protect essential ocean resources.

You can vote now to help the Dugong Detector win $1 million in funding. Voting closes on 30 October 2018.

Last updated on 11 October 2018