Distribution maps of cetacean and seabird populations in the North-East Atlantic

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DOI

  • James J. Waggitt, Bangor University
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  • Peter G. H. Evans, Bangor University
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  • Joana Andrade, Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves
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  • Alex N. Banks, Nat England
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  • Oliver Boisseau, Marine Conservat Res
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  • Mark Bolton, Royal Soc Protect Birds Ctr Conservat Sci, Royal Society for Protection of Birds
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  • Gareth Bradbury, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Consulting
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  • Tom Brereton, Marinelife
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  • Cornelis Jan Camphuysen, Texel & Utrecht Univ, Utrecht University, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Royal Netherlands Inst Sea Res
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  • Jan Durinck, Marine Observers
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  • Tom Felce, Manx Whale & Dolphin Watch
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  • Ruben Christiaan Fijn, Bur Waardenburg
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  • Isabel Garcia-Baron, AZTI Fundazioa, AZTI
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  • Stefan Garthe, Univ Kiel, University of Kiel, Res & Technol Ctr FTZ
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  • Steve C. V. Geelhoed, Wageningen Univ & Res, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen Marine Res
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  • Anita Gilles, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation
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  • Martin Goodall, Cornwall Wildlife Trust
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  • Jan Haelters, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
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  • Sally Hamilton, ORCA International Summer School
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  • Lauren Hartny-Mills, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
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  • Nicola Hodgins, Whale & Dolphin Conservat
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  • Kathy James, Sea Watch Fdn
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  • Mark Jessopp, University College Cork
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  • Ailbhe S. Kavanagh, University College Cork
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  • Mardik Leopold, Wageningen Univ & Res, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen Marine Res
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  • Katrin Lohrengel, Sea Watch Fdn
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  • Maite Louzao, AZTI Fundazioa, AZTI
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  • Nele Markones, Univ Kiel, University of Kiel, Res & Technol Ctr FTZ
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  • Jose Martinez-Cedeira, Coordinadora Estudo Mamiferos Marinos
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  • Oliver O. Cadhla, Natl Pk & Wildlife Serv, Sci & Biodivers Sect
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  • Sarah L. Perry, Wildlife Trust South & West Wales, Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Ctr
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  • Graham J. Pierce, CSIC, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), CSIC - Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (IIM), Inst Invest Marinas
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  • Vincent Ridoux, Université de La Rochelle/CNRS
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  • Kevin P. Robinson, Cetacean Res & Rescue Unit
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  • M. Begona Santos, Ctr Oceanog Vigo, Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Inst Espanol Oceanog
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  • Camilo Saavedra, Ctr Oceanog Vigo, Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Inst Espanol Oceanog
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  • Henrik Skov, DHI
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  • Eric W. M. Stienen, Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels
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  • Signe Sveegaard
  • Paul Thompson, University of Aberdeen
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  • Nicolas Vanermen, Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels
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  • Dave Wall, Irish Whale & Dolphin Grp
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  • Andy Webb, HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd
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  • Jared Wilson, Marine Lab, Marine Scotland Sci MSS
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  • Sarah Wanless, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
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  • Jan Geert Hiddink, Bangor University

Distribution maps of cetaceans and seabirds at basin and monthly scales are needed for conservation and marine management. These are usually created from standardized and systematic aerial and vessel surveys, with recorded animal densities interpolated across study areas. However, distribution maps at basin and monthly scales have previously not been possible because individual surveys have restricted spatial and temporal coverage. This study develops an alternative approach consisting of: (a) collating diverse survey data to maximize spatial and temporal coverage, (b) using detection functions to estimate variation in the surface area covered (km(2)) among these surveys, standardizing measurements of effort and animal densities, and (c) developing species distribution models (SDM) that overcome issues with heterogeneous and uneven coverage. 2.68 million km of survey data in the North-East Atlantic between 1980 and 2018 were collated and standardized. SDM using Generalized Linear Models and General Estimating Equations in a hurdle approach were developed. Distribution maps were then created for 12 cetacean and 12 seabird species at 10 km and monthly resolution. Qualitative and quantitative assessment indicated good model performance. Synthesis and applications. This study provides the largest ever collation and standardization of diverse survey data for cetaceans and seabirds, and the most comprehensive distribution maps of these taxa in the North-East Atlantic. These distribution maps have numerous applications including the identification of important areas needing protection, and the quantification of overlap between vulnerable species and anthropogenic activities. This study demonstrates how the analysis of existing and diverse survey data can meet conservation and marine management needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume57
Issue2
Pages (from-to)253– 269
Number of pages17
ISSN0021-8901
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

    Research areas

  • Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, detection function models, English Channel, Hebrides, Irish Sea, North Sea, species distribution models, MARINE PROTECTED AREAS, DISTANCE, MODELS, CONSERVATION, MAMMALS, SEA, ABUNDANCE, BEHAVIOR, IMPACT

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