[MARMAM] New Paper: Can Static Habitat Protection Encompass Critical Areas for Highly Mobile Marine Top Predators

Sergi Pérez sergiperezjorge at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 01:14:22 PDT 2015

Dear MARMAM colleagues,


We are happy to announce the publication of the following paper in PLoS ONE:


Pérez-Jorge S, Pereira T, Corne C, Wijtten Z, Omar M, Katello J, et al.
(2015) Can Static Habitat Protection Encompass Critical Areas for Highly
Mobile Marine Top Predators? Insights from Coastal East Africa. PLoS ONE
10(7): e0133265. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133265



Along the East African coast, marine top predators are facing an increasing
number of anthropogenic threats which requires the implementation of
effective and urgent conservation measures to protect essential habitats.
Understanding the role that habitat features play on the marine top
predator’ distribution and abundance is a crucial step to evaluate the
suitability of an existing Marine Protected Area (MPA), originally
designated for the protection of coral reefs. We developed species
distribution models (SDM) on the IUCN data deficient Indo-Pacific bottlenose
dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) in southern Kenya. We followed a comprehensive
ecological modelling approach to study the environmental factors influencing

the occurrence and abundance of dolphins while developing SDMs. Through the
combination of ensemble prediction maps, we defined recurrent, occasional
and unfavourable

habitats for the species. Our results showed the influence of dynamic and
static predictors on the dolphins’ spatial ecology: dolphins may select
shallow areas (5-30 m), close to the

reefs (< 500 m) and oceanic fronts (< 10 km) and adjacent to the 100m
isobath (< 5 km). We also predicted a significantly higher occurrence and
abundance of dolphins within the MPA.

Recurrent and occasional habitats were identified on large percentages on
the existing MPA (47% and 57% using presence-absence and abundance models
respectively). However,

the MPA does not adequately encompass all occasional and recurrent areas and
within this context, we propose to extend the MPA to incorporate all of them
which are likely

key habitats for the highly mobile species. The results from this study
provide two key conservation and management tools: (i) an integrative
habitat modelling approach to predict

key marine habitats, and (ii) the first study evaluating the effectiveness
of an existing MPA for marine mammals in the Western Indian Ocean.


This paper is available at:


If you are unable to download the article, please contact me by email and I
will be happy to send you a copy: sergiperezjorge at gmail.com


Best regards,


Sergi Pérez-Jorge

PhD student, Population Ecology Group

Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA)






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