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A decision framework to identify populations that are most vulnerable to the population level effects of disturbance

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We present a decision framework to identify when detailed population-level assessments are required to understand the potential impacts of a disturbance-inducing activity on a marine mammal population and discuss how the framework can be applied to other taxa. Species at high risk of population-level effects can be identified using information on the number of individuals that are likely to be disturbed by the activity, total population size, the probability of repeated disturbance, the species’ reproductive strategy, and the life stages (e.g., feeding, pregnant, lactating) of the individuals most likely to be exposed. This hierarchical approach provides those responsible for conducting impact assessments with a time-efficient, cost-effective and reproducible workflow that allows them to prioritise their efforts and assign funds to those species with the most pressing conservation needs. A fully worked case study using marine mammals in the vicinity of a naval training activity is supplied.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere149
Number of pages7
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number2
Early online date2 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020

    Research areas

  • Anthropogenic disturbance, Conservation management, Impact assessment, Life-history strategy, Noise, Population consequences of disturbance, PCoD, Reproductive strategy, Risk assessment

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ID: 263617702