Classifying grey seal behaviour in relation to environmental variability and commercial fishing activity - a multivariate hidden Markov model

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  • Floris van Beest
  • Sina Mews, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University, Tyskland
  • Svenja Elkenkamp, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University
  • ,
  • Patrick Schuhmann, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University
  • ,
  • Dorian Tsolak, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University
  • ,
  • Till Wobbe, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University
  • ,
  • Valerio Bartolino, Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Lysekil, Sweden.
  • ,
  • Francois Bastardie, National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark
  • ,
  • Rune Dietz
  • Christian von Dorrien, Thünen-Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries
  • ,
  • Anders Galatius
  • Olle Karlsson, Department of Environmental Research and Monitoring, Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • ,
  • Bernie McConnell, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews
  • ,
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
  • Morten Tange Olsen, Evolutionary Genomics Section, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jonas Teilmann
  • Roland Langrock, Department of Business Administration and Economics, Bielefeld University
Classifying movement behaviour of marine predators in relation to anthropogenic activity and environmental conditions is important to guide marine conservation. We studied the relationship between grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) behaviour and environmental variability in the southwestern Baltic Sea where seal-fishery conflicts are increasing. We used multiple environmental covariates and proximity to active fishing nets within a multivariate hidden Markov model (HMM) to quantify changes in movement behaviour of grey seals while at sea. Dive depth, dive duration, surface duration, horizontal displacement, and turning angle were used to identify travelling, resting and foraging states. The likelihood of seals foraging increased in deeper, colder, more saline waters, which are sites with increased primary productivity and possibly prey densities. Proximity to active fishing net also had a pronounced effect on state occupancy. The probability of seals foraging was highest <5km from active fishing nets (51%) and decreased as distance to nets increased. However, seals used sites <5km from active fishing nets only 3% of their time at sea highlighting an important temporal dimension in seal-fishery interactions. By coupling high-resolution oceanographic, fisheries, and grey seal movement data, our study provides a scientific basis for designing management strategies that satisfy ecological and socioeconomic demands on marine ecosystems.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer5642
TidsskriftScientific Reports
Vol/bind9
ISSN2045-2322
DOI
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2019

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