Influence of environmental factors on small cetacean distribution in the Spanish Mediterranean.

A Gómez de Segura, Philip Steven Hammond, JA Raga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Habitat distribution models are one of the most up to date methods to study the habitat usage of wildlife populations. They allow animal distribution to be related to environmental features and also the prediction of the distribution of animals based on this relationship. Seasonal aerial surveys were conducted in central Spanish Mediterranean waters from June 2000 to March 2003 to obtain information on the distribution of cetacean species. Data from the three most common cetacean species (striped dolphin, Stenella coerulcoalba, bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, and Risso's dolphin, Grampus griseus) were related, using generalized linear models, to local environmental features: depth, slope, sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration. For bottlenose dolphins, no significant relationship was found with any covariate and no dolphins were observed in waters greater than 1000 in. The distribution of both striped and Risso's dolphin was significantly related to depth. The striped dolphin showed a preference for waters between 900 and 1500 m deep and Risso's dolphin for waters more than 1500 m deep. In addition,for the latest two species, maps of distribution were predicted by means of the spatial models. The areas of higher probabilities Of occurrence coincide to a large extent with the marine protected areas previously proposed for the conservation of oceanic cetacean species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume88
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008

Keywords

  • striped dolphin
  • bottlenose dolphin
  • Risso's dolphin
  • distribution
  • environmental factors
  • generalized linear models
  • MPAs
  • GULF-OF-MEXICO
  • DOLPHIN GRAMPUS-GRISEUS
  • ABUNDANCE
  • HABITATS
  • WATERS
  • DIET
  • SEA
  • MODELS
  • SLOPE

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