Natural ecosystems are defined by complex webs of interactions between the flora, fauna, and non-organic elements of an environment.  The importance of modeling and understanding these entangled and dynamic interactions is increasing as anthropogenic change threatens ecosystems across the globe. Marine, terrestrial, and aerial robotic platforms increasingly capable of safely navigating remote environments over extended periods provide opportunities to better and quickly study such ecosystems. These platforms leverage advances in field robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, such as semantic mapping, reinforcement learning, and distributed or adaptive planning. With these, robots can be more than just mobile sensors collecting data for human analysis; they can actively and independently aid in exploration and understanding across a diverse range of ecosystems and synthesize complex high-level concepts into targeted and actionable plans for conservation and science.

This workshop brings together robotics researchers at the forefront of environmental sensing and exploration, animal monitoring, semantic modeling, and more to present a panoramic view of robotic advances in the pursuit of understanding natural ecosystems. We further invite researchers in ecology and related fields to attend and contribute their insights on the most critical challenges and opportunities for greater use of autonomous robots to solve these problems.


May ??, 2024 | Yokohama, Japan

08:45 - 10:30 Session 1: Ecosystem Sensing & Monitoring
08:45 - 09:00 Opening Remarks from Organizers
09:00 - 09:30 Victoria Preston (Northeastern/Olin)
09:30 - 10:00 Daniel Zitterbart (WHOI)
10:00 - 10:30 Lightning Talks
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break & Posters
11:00 - 12:30 Session 2: Ecological Residency & Restoration
11:00 - 11:30 Christoffer Heckman (UC Boulder)
11:30 - 12:00 Philippe Giguère (Laval)
12:00 - 12:30 Lightning Talks
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 15:00 Session 3: Roboticist-Ecologist Collaboration
13:30 - 14:00 Kakani Katija (MBARI)
14:00 - 14:30 Scott Goetz (ASU)
14:30 - 15:00 Lightning Talks
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break & Posters
15:30 - 16:30 Panel Discussion