[MARMAM] New publication on abundance of humpback whales in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean

Heloíse Pavanato helopavanato at gmail.com
Tue May 23 16:21:29 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our recent publication in
Ecological Modelling:

Pavanato HJ, Wedekin LL, Guilherme-Silveira FR, Engel MH, Kinas PG. 2017.
Estimating humpback whale abundance using hierarchical distance sampling.
Ecological Modelling, 358: 10-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.


- A hierarchical Bayesian framework is proposed to model distance sampling

- The method accounts for covariate effects to variation on density.

- Approach useful for evaluating whether concentration areas change across
- Humpback whale density was higher at 65–86 km from the shore.

- Results suggest population is reaching its carrying capacity.

We developed a Bayesian distance sampling analysis using a hierarchically
structured model parameterization to estimate humpback whale abundance in
the Southwest Atlantic Ocean (Breeding Stock A). We included covariates
that affect detection (altitude and sighting cue) and occurrence
probability (year and distance from shore). Population sizes for 2008, 2011
and 2015 were estimated to be 7,689 (P.I.95% = 6,585–8,931), 8,652
(P.I.95% = 7,696–9,682), and 12,123 (P.I.95% = 10,811–13,531),
respectively. The results indicate an aggregation of humpback whales in an
intermediate distance from shoreline, an increasing in density from 2008 to
2001 and a substantial overlap between posterior distributions of density
for 2011 and 2015, which suggests a stabilization of population growth over
the last year. Our parameterization provided a clear view of observational
and ecological processes and illustrates that the Bayesian hierarchical
line transect approach provides a flexible tool to account for and evaluate
various sources of uncertainty.

The article can be downloaded here: https://authors.elsevier.com/a
/1V56115DJ~pjqM or you can email hpavanato at maths.otago.ac.nz to request a
copy or further inquiries.

Best regards,

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