20 July 2012

Predicting cetacean habitats - Predire gli habitat dei cetacei

Cetaceans are not randomly distributed in the sea; better knowing where and when to find some species, especially endangered ones, is the basis for their conservation. Tethys researchers have been collecting data for a very long timespan in the Mediterranean and just came out with a great publication on a scientific journal.

Abstract: Habitat use of seven different species of cetaceans inhabiting the Pelagos Sanctuary was studied using 18-year summer shipboard surveys data, in an area of approximately  25,000 km2. 2940 sightings were collected: 1996 striped dolphins, 626 fin whales, 120 Risso's  dolphins, 114 sperm whales, 27 common bottlenose dolphins, 25 long-finned pilot whales, 23 Cuvier's beaked  whales. Stepwise Logistic Regression Analysis was used to develop presence/absence predictive models.  Statistics of depth and slope were used as covariates. Significant correlations were outlined (P < 0.05)  supporting the hypothesis that physiographic factors may be employed as predictors of the species  presence. The temporal variability of the species habitat use was also analyzed, confirming the reliability  of the physiographic predictors. Temporal trends and variability in the species distribution were also  assessed through a GLM analysis. The understanding offered by this long-term study is essential for managing the conservation status of these wide-ranging species.

Azzellino A., Panigada S., Lanfredi C, Zanardelli M., Airoldi, S. and Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. 2012. Predictive Habitat Models For Managing Marine Areas: Spatial And Temporal Distribution Of Marine Mammals  Within The Pelagos  Sanctuary (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea). Ocean and Coastal Management 67:63-74.

Picture: first author, Arianna Azzellino, Tethys Research Institute

ITA: I cetacei non sono distribuiti casualmente nei mari, ma ogni specie ha determinate preferenze. Una miglior conoscenza dei loro habitat รจ la base per la loro conservazione. I ricercatori di Tethys hanno raccolto dati per un lungo periodo, in Mediterraneo, ed hanno appena pubblicato un importante lavoro su una prestigiosa rivista scientifica. 

Nella foto: il primo autore, Arianna Azzellino, Tethys Research Institute

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