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  • Toroa/northern royal albatross spend about 85% of their time on the Southern Ocean – only living on land to nest during the breeding season. Some of their nesting sites are in remote places so the sites can be tricky to reach. Monitoring of albatross populations is crucial to the success of any conservation efforts.

    This activity uses actual data from a Chatham Islands monitoring site gathered from a satellite image. It is part of a suite of activities that support the Build a satellite interactive. These activities support students to engage with the science capabilities ‘Gather and interpret data’, ‘Critique evidence’ and ‘Interpret representations’.

    Consider doing the activity Interpreting observations from satellite images prior to this activity. It introduces strategies that are useful when interpreting satellite images.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • discuss why scientists monitor species like the toroa/northern royal albatross
    • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using satellites to monitor albatross
    • use satellite images to engage with one or more of the science capabilities.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    Find out more about remote sensing and satellites used for Earth observation.

    These citizen science projects focus on species distribution. Some involve identifying and counting species using images.

    Activity ideas

    Grow your skill set. Build a satellite and then analyse data regarding dark vessels and slow slip Earth movements.

    Useful links

    The Royal Albatross Centre has more information on the toroa/northern royal albatross.

    The Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand have a tracking app. Visit their website to learn more about the app and to access their tracking data.

    If you would like to investigate climatic conditions for the Chatham Islands archipelago, NIWA has information on regional climatologies.


    This resource has been produced with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the support of the New Zealand Space Agency.

      Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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