[MARMAM] New publication: Predicting summer fin whale distribution in the Pelagos Sanctuary (north-western Mediterranean Sea) to identify dynamic whale–vessel collision risk areas

Joey Gin Swen Ham joey.gs.ham at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 00:09:26 PDT 2021


Dear all,

My co-authors and I are delighted to announce our recent publication
entitled "Predicting summer fin whale distribution in the Pelagos Sanctuary
(north-western Mediterranean Sea) to identify dynamic whale–vessel
collision risk areas" in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and
Freshwater Ecosystems (https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3614).

If you would like a PDF copy, please feel free to let me know.

Abstract:

   1. Mediterranean fin whales aggregating in the Pelagos Sanctuary in
   summer to feed are exposed to vessel collision risk, particularly from
   high-speed ferries.
   2. This study developed models to predict summer fin whale distribution
   using a generalized additive model (GAM) and MaxEnt, with the aim of
   providing a tool to identify potential high whale–ferry collision risk
   areas along ferry routes within the Pelagos Sanctuary during summertime.
   3. Models were trained using sightings data collected in the summer
   months of 2009–2018 on board ferries crossing the central area of the
   Pelagos Sanctuary. Environmental predictors were bathymetry and mean sea
   surface chlorophyll concentration of the annual spring bloom period.
   4. The predictive ability of GAM and MaxEnt was assessed using existing
   knowledge of summer fin whale distribution in the region. GAM (deviance
   explained = 20.2%) predictions matched documented distributions more
   closely than that of MaxEnt, with highest predicted fin whale occurrence in
   deep offshore waters (>2000 m) encompassing the central north-western and
   western regions, and in the south-eastern region, consistent with known fin
   whale habitats within the Pelagos Sanctuary. Inter-annual variability was
   evident, influencing collision risk areas.
   5. Collision risk was estimated as a function of the overlap between the
   predicted probability of fin whale occurrence and ferry density estimated
   from Automated Identification System data. Ferry routes that cross the
   northern and eastern regions of the Pelagos Sanctuary presented relatively
   higher collision risk.
   6. Areas with changes in risk intensity between the years were
   temporally and spatially dynamic: some appeared intermittently throughout
   the study period while others persisted over consecutive years or recurred
   in different years.
   7. Due to the vastness of the Pelagos Sanctuary, vessel speed reduction
   maybe a more practical measure to manage collision risk than re-routing
   shipping lanes. A combination of Seasonal Management Areas and Dynamic
   Management Areas approaches could be adopted for high-risk areas.


Regards  ,
Joey @Gin Swen, MSc

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gin-swen-ham-b624ab21/
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