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: Contribution to journalArticle

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
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2017

    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. Comparing and Contrasting Primate and Cetacean Culture

    Botting, J. L., van de Waal, E. & Rendell, L. E. 8 Sep 2017 The Handbook of Culture and Biology: One. Causadias, J. M., Telzer, E. H. & Gonzales, N. A. (eds.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Social Evolution and the collective brain

    Laland, K. N. & Rendell, L. Sep 2017 In : Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 32, 9, p. 625-626 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  3. Pollinator importance networks illustrate the crucial value of bees in a highly speciose plant community

    Ballantyne, G., Baldock, K. C. R., Rendell, L. & Willmer, P. G. 21 Aug 2017 In : Scientific Reports. 7, 13 p., 8389

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Categorizing click trains to increase taxonomic precision in echolocation click loggers

    Palmer, K. J., Brookes, K. & Rendell, L. Aug 2017 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 142, 2, p. 863-877 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. The devil is in the detail: quantifying vocal variation in a complex, multi-levelled, and rapidly evolving display

    Garland, E. C., Rendell, L., Lilley, M. S., Poole, M. M., Allen, J. & Noad, M. J. 31 Jul 2017 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 142, 1, p. 460-472 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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: Contribution to journalArticle

  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: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Indicators of responsible investing

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 251505797