[MARMAM] Published paper -- Projecting Marine Mammal Distribution in a Changing Climate

Greg Silber gregsilber2 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 2 07:15:53 PST 2018

MarMam Community:

We wish to note that the paper "Projecting Marine Mammal Distribution in a
Changing Climate" recently published.

Gregory K. Silber, Matthew D. Lettrich, Peter O. Thomas, Jason D. Baker, Mark
Baumgartner, Elizabeth A. Becker, Peter Boveng, Dorothy M. Dick, Jerome
Fiechter, Jaume Forcada, Karin A. Forney, Roger B. Griffis, Jonathan A. Hare,
Alistair J. Hobday, Daniel Howell, Kristin L. Laidre, Nate Mantua, Lori
Quakenbush, Jarrod A. Santora, Kathleen M. Stafford, Paul Spencer, Charles
Stock, William Sydeman, Kyle Van Houtan, and Robin S. Waples. 2017. *Frontiers
in Marine Science* 20 December 2017

Projecting Marine Mammal Distribution in a Changing Climate.
Climate-related shifts in marine mammal range and distribution have been
observed in some populations; however, the nature and magnitude of future
responses are uncertain in novel environments projected under climate
change. This poses a challenge for agencies charged with management and
conservation of these species. Specialized diets, restricted ranges, or
reliance on specific substrates or sites (e.g., for pupping) make many
marine mammal populations particularly vulnerable to climate change.
High-latitude, predominantly ice-obligate, species have experienced some of
the largest changes in habitat and distribution and these are expected to
continue. Efforts to predict and project marine mammal distributions to
date have emphasized data-driven statistical habitat models. These have
proven successful for short time-scale (e.g., seasonal) management
activities, but confidence that such relationships will hold for
multi-decade projections and novel environments is limited. Recent advances
in mechanistic modeling of marine mammals (i.e., models that rely on robust
physiological and ecological principles expected to hold under climate
change) may address this limitation. The success of such approaches rests
on continued advances in marine mammal ecology, behavior, and physiology
together with improved regional climate projections. The broad scope of
this challenge suggests initial priorities be placed on vulnerable species
or populations (those already experiencing declines or projected to undergo
ecological shifts resulting from climate changes that are consistent across
climate projections) and species or populations for which ample data
already exist (with the hope that these may inform climate change
sensitivities in less well observed species or populations elsewhere). The
sustained monitoring networks, novel observations, and modeling advances
required to more confidently project marine mammal distributions in a
changing climate will ultimately benefit management decisions across
time-scales, further promoting the resilience of marine mammal populations.

available at:

Greg Silber
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