[MARMAM] New paper: Kogia breviceps strandings in relation to environmental factors

Wayne Mcfee - NOAA Federal wayne.mcfee at noaa.gov
Thu Sep 10 06:25:05 PDT 2015

Dear MARMAM Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following NOAA Technical Memorandum

Berini, C. R., Kracker, L. M. and W. E. McFee. 2015. Modeling pygmy sperm
whale (Kogia breviceps, De Blainville 1838) strandings along the southeast
coast of the United States from 1992 to 2006 in relation to environmental
factors. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 203. 44 pp.

Pygmy sperm whales are the second most commonly stranded marine mammal in
the Southeastern Unites States (SEUS). They most often strand alive and the
causes of these events remain largely unknown. Generalized linear models
were built to identify potential relationships among environmental factors
and the occurrence of pygmy sperm whale strandings in the SEUS. Two methods
were used to model environmental parameters depending on the nature of the
data. One method used data from NOAA buoys compiled over a week before a
stranding event. Predictor variables included hourly wind direction and
speed, wave height, average wave period, barometric pressure, and water
temperature. The other method used Sea Surface Temperature data from
satellite images compiled monthly, monthly Multivariate El Niño Southern
Oscillation Index (MEI), and bathymetric data. Frontal features were
extracted from the images using ArcMap Geographic Information System and
landscape metrics were computed on these images in FRAGSTATS. The model
compiled from buoy data was relatively stronger (AIC = 497.5) at predicting
strandings. It indicated that more strandings occurred when there were
sustained high wind speeds, low barometric pressures, and swell waves in
the week before stranding events. While the other model was relatively
weaker (AIC = 718.7), it showed that less numerous fronts and high MEI
index were generally associated with a higher number of strandings. This
study is a step toward appreciating which environmental factors may
contribute to the observed marine mammal stranding patterns as well as the
distribution of pygmy sperm whales. It is an attempt at building predictive
statistical models that could be useful for the management of cetaceans.

The article can be downloaded from:

Alternatively, you may e-mail me for a pdf at wayne.mcfee at noaa.gov

Thank you.

Wayne McFee
219 Ft. Johnson Rd.
Charleston, SC 29412
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