[MARMAM] New publication on Galapagos pinnipeds' habitat use and spatial prioritization

Francesco Ventura fraventura.92 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 29 03:12:46 PST 2019

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

My coauthors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our latest
research in *Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems*.

Ventura F, Matthiopoulos J, Jeglinski JWE. Minimal overlap between areas of
high conservation priority for endangered Galapagos pinnipeds and the
conservation zone of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Aquatic Conserv: Mar
Freshw Ecosyst. 2019;29:115–126.

Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) and fur seals (Arctocephalus
galapagoensis) are endangered pinnipeds that live in a highly variable
marine environment, influenced by seasonal changes in productivity and by
the unpredictable occurrence of El Niño. The Galapagos marine habitat is
protected through the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), which has recently
undergone a redefinition of its zonation. However, the effectiveness of the
GMR in protecting the habitat of Galapagos pinnipeds has never been
investigated, and it is unclear how well their habitat use aligns with the
newly proposed conservation zone.
A spatial prioritization analysis framework was applied based on the
complementary use of density estimation (kernel utilization distributions,
KUDs) and habitat modelling (resource selection functions, RSFs). Using
tracking data collected over two years and under three environmental
scenarios (cold season, warm season, and El Niño) in the western
archipelago, hot spots of pinniped habitat usage were identified (through
KUDs), and predictions about the location of patches of good habitat were
generated (through RSFs). The output of KUDs and RSFs was used for a
spatial prioritization analysis to delineate areas of high conservation
priority. The overlap between these areas and the GMR zonation was then
Both species were found to use largely distinct habitat types: sea lions
used the waters over the continental shelf, whereas fur seals used the
offshore deep waters and showed a more heterogeneous space usage over time.
The spatial prioritization analysis identified three key areas of high
conservation priority for both species in the Western Galapagos. These
areas were all within the boundaries of the GMR but the overlap with the
conservation zone was only 8%. Hence, under the current proposition, the
largest proportion of key pinniped foraging habitat in the western
archipelago will not be protected from licensed activities in the
sustainable use zone, particularly fishing and boat traffic.

Publication is available here:

Best regards,

Francesco Ventura
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