AERIAL INSIGHTS: Drone researcher Angus Warfield-McAlpine out in the field.
AERIAL INSIGHTS: Drone researcher Angus Warfield-McAlpine out in the field. Contributed

Overview of saving Noosa's coastline

A 30-YEAR-OLD Peregian Beach researcher is planning a new career in conserving coastal ecosystems.

Angus Warfield- McAlpine has just graduated with a University of the Sunshine Coast environmental science degree in the same week his study into the mangroves of Weyba Creek Conservation Park was published.

Mr Warfield-McAlpine left Sunshine Beach State High School early in Year 12 to complete a carpentry apprenticeship, before reconstructing his career at university.

He received a University Medal for his outstanding grade-point average of 6.88 out of seven and saw the international journal Drones publish his study, supervised by USC senior lecturer in physical geography Dr Javier Leon.

This assessed the ability of drones to capture forest metrics in a mangrove environment.

"Mangroves are vital ecosystems that store carbon in their biomass but they are declining across the world due to deforestation and are threatened by climate change,” he said.

"More data is needed to ensure their ecological integrity is maintained.

"Our research found that drone mapping could be a more cost-effective, timely and non-destructive method of measuring the height and volume of mangrove canopies.”

Mr Warfield-McAlpine, who tutors in a hydrology and geomorphology course at USC, will begin his honours project with Dr Leon later this year.

Two highlights of his degree involved travelling to Borneo and interning with the CSIRO.