[MARMAM] New Right Whale publication

Edward Gregr ed at scitechconsulting.com
Mon Dec 12 14:26:34 PST 2011


Hello everyone - I am so very pleased to finally announce the 
publication of my modelling work on North Pacific right whale 
distributions. The article provides (I hope!) insights into right whale 
habitat use in the NP, and shows how models at different scales can help 
elucidate ecological processes. Technically, the work combines historic 
data with contemporary oceanographic model output using the MaxEnt 
presence-only modelling framework. I hope some of you find this of 
interest.

Abstract below, full text available at:  
http://www.int-res.com/articles/esr_oa/n015p223.pdf

Best regards,
ed.

Gregr, Edward J. 2011. Insights into North Pacific right whale 
/Eubalaena japonica/ habitat from historic whaling records. Endangered 
Species Research, 15:223-239.

Whaling records from the mid-1800s provide the largest set of 
observations with which to conduct a basin-scale analysis of potential 
North Pacific right whale /Eubalaena japonica/ habitat. Since these data 
lack the concurrent oceanographic data necessary to investigate the 
species' habitat characteristics I used ocean climate from a 20th 
century circulation model to create a suitable set of habitat 
predictors. My goals were to (1) identify regions of suitable habitat 
and (2) investigate the processes underlying the species--habitat 
relationship by (3) examining model performance at different spatial and 
temporal scales. The results show 2 non-overlapping habitat regions in 
the subarctic North Pacific, supporting the notion of 2 distinct 
subpopulations. The analysis also implicates surface temperature and 
temperature variability as strong indicators of potential right whale 
habitat. Tests of model performance at different scales strongly suggest 
that at the basin-scale, right whales use regions of cold water with low 
inter-annual variability and high within-season variability (i.e. areas 
where high frontal activity occurs predictably from year to year). The 
significance of these indicators decreased at the regional scale 
emphasising the coupling of scale and process, and thus the need for 
different predictors at different scales. Comparisons of models built 
using different subsets of the dependent data showed how hypotheses can 
be tested and potential biases in observational data can be explored. 
Analyses of rare species' habitat such as this can provide guidance for 
more directed survey efforts and help identify areas and processes of 
potential biological importance.
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