Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The challenge of habitat modelling for threatened low density species using heterogeneous data: the case of Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Mediterranean

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

DOI

Author(s)

A. Cañadas, N. Aguilar de Soto, M. Aissi, A. Arcangeli, M. Azzolin, A. B-Nagy, G. Bearzi, I. Campana, C. Chicote, C. Cotte, R. Crosti, L. David, A. Di Natale, C. Fortuna, A. Frantzis, P. Garcia, M. Gazo, R. Gutierrez-Xarxa, D. Holcer, S. Laran & 16 others G. Lauriano, T. Lewis, A. Moulins, B. Mussi, G. Notarbartolo di Sciara, S. Panigada, X. Pastor, E. Politi, M. Pulcini, J.A. Raga, L. Rendell, M. Rosso, P. Tepsich, J. Tomás, M. Tringali, Th. Roger

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The Mediterranean population of Cuvieŕs beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), a deep-diving cetacean, is genetically distinct from the Atlantic, and subject to a number of conservation threats, in particular underwater noise. It is also cryptic at the surface and relatively rare, so obtain robust knowledge on distribution and abundance presents unique challenges. Here we use multiplatform and multiyear survey data to analyse the distribution and abundance of this species across the Mediterranean Sea. We use a novel approach combining heterogeneous data gathered with different methods to obtain a single density index for the region. A total of 594,996 km of survey effort and 507 sightings of Cuvier’s beaked whales, from 1990 to 2016, were pooled together from 24 different sources. Data were divided into twelve major groups according to platform height, speed and sea state. Both availability bias and effective strip width were calculated from the sightings with available perpendicular distance data. This was extrapolated to the rest of the sightings for each of the twelve groups. Habitat preference models were fitted into a GAM framework using counts of groups as a response variable with the effective searched area as an offset. Depth, coefficient of variation of depth, longitude and marine regions (as defined by the International Hydrographic Organization) were identified as important predictors. Predicted abundance of groups per grid cell were multiplied by mean group size to obtain a prediction of the abundance of animals. A total abundance of 5799 (CV = 24.0%) animals was estimated for the whole Mediterranean basin. The Alborán Sea, Ligurian Sea, Hellenic Trench, southern Adriatic Sea and eastern Ionian Sea were identified as being the main hot spots in the region. It is important to urge that the relevant stakeholders incorporate this information in the planning and execution of high risk activities in these high-risk areas.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume85
Issue numberSupplement C
Early online date23 Oct 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Cuvier’s beaked whales, Abundance, Distribution, Conservation, Density surface modelling, Correction factor, Mediterranean sea

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Social learning strategies: bridge-building between fields

    Kendal, R., Boogert, N., Rendell, L., Laland, K. N., Webster, M. & Jones, P. 11 May 2018 In : Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 22, 7, p. 651-665 15 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewReview article

  2. Presence of an audience and consistent interindividual differences affect archerfish shooting behaviour

    Jones, N. A. R., Webster, M., Templeton, C. N., Schuster, S. & Rendell, L. 15 Jun 2018 In : Animal Behaviour. 141, p. 95-103 9 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Innovation and cumulative culture through tweaks and leaps in online programming contests

    Miu, E., Gulley, N., Laland, K. N. & Rendell, L. 13 Jun 2018 In : Nature Communications. 9, 8 p., 2321

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Whale and dolphin behavioural responses to dead conspecifics

    Bearzi, G., Kerem, D., Furey, N. B., Pitman, R. L., Rendell, L. E. & Reeves, R. R. 9 May 2018 In : Zoology. In Press

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  5. Night-life of Bryde’s whales: ecological implications of resting in a baleen whale

    Izadi, S., Johnson, M., de Soto, N. A. & Constantine, R. May 2018 In : Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 72, 5, 78

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. Novel application of a quantitative spatial comparison tool to species distribution data

    Jones, E. L., Rendell, L. E., Pirotta, E. & Long, J. A. Nov 2016 In : Ecological Indicators. 70, p. 67-76 10 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Marine ecosystem services: Linking indicators to their classification

    Hattam, C., Atkins, J. P., Beaumont, N. J., Bӧrger, T., Bӧhnke-Henrichs, A., Burdon, D., de Groot, R., Hoefnagel, E., Nunes, P. A. L. D., Piwowarczyk, J., Sastre, S. & Austen, M. C. 28 Feb 2015 In : Ecological Indicators. 49, p. 61-75 15 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Indicators of responsible investing

    Scholtens, B. 2014 In : Ecological Indicators. 36, p. 382-385 4 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

ID: 251505797