[MARMAM] PhD Thesis 'The Ecology of Cuvier’s beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris (Cetacea: Ziphiidae), in the Bay of Biscay'.
jackie52smith at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Dec 20 10:32:43 PST 2010
A pdf of the following PhD Thesis:
Smith, J.A. 2010. The Ecology of Cuvier’s beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris
(Cetacea: Ziphiidae), in the Bay of Biscay.
Is now available at: www.marine-life.org.uk/jackiesmith.html
This dissertation introduces the habitat use and spatial-temporal distribution
of Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris, Cuvier, 1823)in the Bay of
Biscay, from surveys carried out by the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme
between 1995 and 2007. I have analysed the spatio-temporal distribution of
Cuvier’s beaked whale, using dedicated and opportunistic sightings and the
interactions with fixed physical variables (depth, slope and aspect), non-fixed
environmental variables (sea surface temperature) in the Bay of Biscay,
northeast Atlantic. This study used a differing combination of environmental
variables and modelling: GAM (General Additive Model), and ENFA (Ecological
Niche Factor Analysis), and PCA (Principal Component Analysis). Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing were used to achieve this. The
habitat preferences of Cuvier’s beaked whale showed strong correlations with
water depths >1000m and <4000m and steep slopes, associated with the Capbreton
canyon, in the southeast Bay of Biscay and the continental shelf slopes in
northern Biscay. Areas of high suitability for Cuvier’s beaked whale were
predicted for the Bay of Biscay and predictions showed high habitat suitability
areas over continental shelf slopes and submarine canyons. The variety of
modelling techniques used to identify the habitat preferences and to predict
areas of high suitability for Cuvier’s beaked whale in the Bay of Biscay all
proved advantageous. On a global scale, techniques such as these could be
applied to help research worldwide for future implementations of protected areas
to conserve and maintain this species. The abundance and distribution of
Cuvier’s beaked whales varied between years and seasons, with an increase in
sightings over time and a seasonal distribution shifting north during spring and
summer. Stranding records were also analyzed and compared with the sightings
data, which identified regional patterns in seasonal distribution between
France, the UK and Ireland. In addition to Cuvier’s beaked whale, this study
investigated other deep-diving cetaceans (Northern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon
ampullatus, Sowerby’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon bidens, Sperm whale, Physalus
macrocephalus, Pilot whale, Globicephala melas) and non-deep diving cetaceans
(Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus, and Common dolphin, Delphinus delphis)
observed in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel. The Bay of Biscay is the
most northerly range of the Cuvier’s beaked whale in the eastern north Atlantic
and with year round observations, it could be suggested the population may be
resident.This raises the question, could Cuvier’s beaked whale act as a
predictor of increasing water temperatures because of climate change by shifting
their distribution further north.
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dr Jackie Smith.
Email: jackie52smith at yahoo.co.uk
Marinelife is a charity registered: No 1110884
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