[MARMAM] New publication: Multi-scale habitat preference analyses for Azorean blue whales

Laura González lauragonzalez at uvigo.es
Mon Oct 1 10:26:54 PDT 2018

Good morning!

We are pleased to announce the publication of our paper entitled
"Multi-scale habitat preference analyses for Azorean blue whales"; carried
out under my PhD project.

The full text is available (open access) at:

I would be available for any further information or question you may have.
Hope you enjoy it!

González García L, Pierce GJ, Autret E, Torres-Palenzuela JM (2018)
Multi-scale habitat preference analyses for Azorean blue whales. PLoS ONE
13(9): e0201786. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201786

Blue whales are sighted every year around the Azores islands, which
apparently provide an important seasonal foraging area. In this paper we
aim to characterize habitat preferences and analyze the temporal
distribution of blue whales around São Miguel Island. To do so, we applied
Generalized Additive Models to an opportunistic cetacean occurrence dataset
and remotely sensed environmental data on bathymetry, sea surface
temperature, chlorophyll concentration and altimetry. We provide a brief
description of the oceanography of the area, emphasizing its high
spatio-temporal variability. In order to capture this dynamism, we used
environmental data with two different spatial resolutions (low and high)
and three different temporal resolutions (daily, weekly and monthly), thus
accounting for both long-term oceanographic events such as the spring
bloom, and shorter-term features such as eddies or fronts. Our results show
that blue whales have a well-defined ecological niche around the Azores.
They usually cross the archipelago from March to June and habitat
suitability is highest in dynamic areas (with high Eddy Kinetic Energy)
characterized by convergence or aggregation zones where productivity is
enhanced. Multi-scale studies are useful to understand the ecological niche
and habitat requirements of highly mobile species that can easily react to
short-term changes in the environment.


Laura González García


PhD Student

Applied Physics Department

University of Vigo
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