[MARMAM] Abundance estimation of the critically endangered Baltic Proper harbour porpoise using PAM

Julia Carlström Julia.Carlstrom at nrm.se
Sun Jul 10 02:48:15 PDT 2022

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of an international team of 33 authors, I am pleased to announce the publication

Amundin, M., Carlström, J., Thomas,  L., Carlén, I., Koblitz, J., Teilmann, J., Tougaard, J., Tregenza,  N., Wennerberg, D., Loisa, O., Brundiers, K., Kosecka, M.,  Kyhn, L. A., Tiberi Ljungqvist, C., Sveegaard, S., Burt, M. L.,  Pawliczka, I., Jussi, I., Koza, R., ... Benke, H. (2022). Estimating  the abundance of the critically endangered Baltic Proper  harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) population using  passive acoustic monitoring. Ecology and Evolution, 12, e8554.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8554

The paper was first published with an erroneous order of authors, which now has been corrected. The paper is open access.

Knowing the abundance of a population is a crucial component to assess its conservation status and develop effective conservation plans. For most cetaceans, abundance estimation is difficult given their cryptic and mobile nature, especially when the population is small and has a transnational distribution. In the Baltic Sea, the number of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) has collapsed since the mid-20th century and the Baltic Proper harbour porpoise is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN and HELCOM; however, its abundance remains unknown. Here, one of the largest ever passive acoustic monitoring studies was carried out by eight Baltic Sea nations to estimate the abundance of the Baltic Proper harbour porpoise for the first time. By logging porpoise echolocation signals at 298 stations during May 2011-April 2013, calibrating the loggers' spatial detection performance at sea, and measuring the click rate of tagged individuals, we estimated an abundance of 71-1105 individuals (95% CI, point estimate 491) during May-October within the population's proposed management border. The small abundance estimate strongly supports that the Baltic Proper harbour porpoise is facing an extremely high risk of extinction, and highlights the need for immediate and efficient conservation actions through international cooperation. It also provides a starting point in monitoring the trend of the population abundance to evaluate the effectiveness of management measures and determine its interactions with the larger neighboring Belt Sea population. Further, we offer evidence that design-based passive acoustic monitoring can generate reliable estimates of the abundance of rare and cryptic animal populations across large spatial scales.
Kind regards,
Julia Carlström

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Julia Carlström
Curator, PhD
Department of Environmental Research and Monitoring
Office: +46 (0)8 5195 4190
Mobile: +46 (0)733 120 787
julia.carlstrom at nrm.se<mailto:julia.carlstrom at nrm.se>

Swedish Museum of Natural History
P.O. Box 50007
SE-104 05 Stockholm
Visitng address: Frescativägen 40

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