[MARMAM] New paper Current and future patterns of global marine mammal biodiversity

Kristin Kaschner Kristin.Kaschner at biologie.uni-freiburg.de
Tue May 24 02:41:45 PDT 2011

Dear list members

The paper below has just been published in PlosOne

Kaschner K, Tittensor DP, Ready J, Gerrodette T, 
Worm B, 2011 Current and Future Patterns of 
Global Marine Mammal Biodiversity. PLoS ONE 6(5): 
e19653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019653

Quantifying the spatial distribution of taxa is 
an important prerequisite for the preservation of 
biodiversity, and can provide a baseline against 
which to measure the impacts of climate change. 
Here we analyse patterns of marine mammal species 
richness based on predictions of global 
distributional ranges for 115 species, including 
all extant pinnipeds and cetaceans. We used an 
environmental suitability model specifically 
designed to address the paucity of distributional 
data for many marine mammal species. We generated 
richness patterns by overlaying predicted 
distributions for all species; these were then 
validated against sightings data from dedicated 
long-term surveys in the Eastern Tropical 
Pacific, the Northeast Atlantic and the Southern 
Ocean. Model outputs correlated well with 
empirically observed patterns of biodiversity in 
all three survey regions. Marine mammal richness 
was predicted to be highest in temperate waters 
of both hemispheres with distinct hotspots around 
New Zealand, Japan, Baja California, the 
Galapagos Islands, the Southeast Pacific, and the 
Southern Ocean. We then applied our model to 
explore potential changes in biodiversity under 
future perturbations of environmental conditions. 
Forward projections of biodiversity using an 
intermediate Intergovernmental Panel for Climate 
Change (IPCC) temperature scenario predicted that 
projected ocean warming and changes in sea ice 
cover until 2050 may have moderate effects on the 
spatial patterns of marine mammal richness. 
Increases in cetacean richness were predicted 
above 40° latitude in both hemispheres, while 
decreases in both pinniped and cetacean richness 
were expected at lower latitudes. Our results 
show how species distribution models can be 
applied to explore broad patterns of marine 
biodiversity worldwide for taxa for which limited 
distributional data are available.

The paper can be downloaded from PlosOne: 

best regards


Kristin Kaschner, Ph.D.
Evolutionary Biology & Ecology Lab
Institute of Biology I (Zoology)
Freiburg, Germany

ph: ++ 49 178 547 7760
email: Kristin.Kaschner at biologie.uni-freiburg.de
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