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Scientists seek to use weather radar to monitor insect diversity

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A team of researchers are developing a new tool through which they can monitor the health of insect population using weather radars, according to a study released on Thursday by the British University of Leeds.

Dr Christopher Hassall, a member of the BioDAR team from the University of Leeds’ School of Biology said this in London.

Insect populations, which play a vital part in the ecosystems, have been falling sharply, but it is a difficult task to effectively tracking their abundance and diversity over large areas.

The project, called BioDAR, is carried out by researchers from the University of Leeds, University of Exeter and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

It aims to exploit weather radar networks from around the world to create detailed maps of insect abundance and diversity.

The team will also develop a way to use machine learning to automatically recognise and quantify the diversity of insects using weather radar data.

“Humans are causing alarming declines in wildlife populations across the world, and it is vitally important to our own survival that we protect those that are left,’’ Hassall said.

“This collaboration between biologists and atmospheric physicists aims to create a powerful new tool through which we can keep a watchful eye on insect populations, allowing us to make conservation decisions that encourage their survival,” he said.

By regularly collecting information about the variety and number of different insects over wide areas.

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