[MARMAM] PhD Thesis: The Ecology of Cuvier’s beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris (Cetacea: Ziphiidae), in the Bay of Biscay

jackie smith jackie52smith at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Feb 25 16:48:18 PST 2011

Dear MARMAMers,

Sorry for the confusion, there was a mix up with the link:

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.

has moved to:  


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. 

Happy  Reading

Dr Jackie Smith.
Email: jackie52smith at yahoo.co.uk

Marinelife is a charity registered: No 1110884
jackie xx


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