MEPS 310:271-295 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps310271

Techniques for cetacean–habitat modeling

J. V. Redfern1,*, M. C. Ferguson1,2, E. A. Becker1,3, K. D. Hyrenbach4, C. Good4, J. Barlow1, K. Kaschner5,6, M. F. Baumgartner7, K. A. Forney8, L. T. Ballance1, P. Fauchald9, P. Halpin10, T. Hamazaki11, A. J. Pershing12, S. S. Qian10, A. Read4, S. B. Reilly1, L. Torres4, F. Werner13

1Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
2Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA
3Institute for Computational Earth System Science, Marine Science Graduate Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA
4Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
5Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste, Hafentörn, 25761 Büsum, Germany
6Sea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada
7Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
8Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 110 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
9Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, The Polar Environmental Center, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
10Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Science, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA
11Alaska Department of Fish & Game, 333 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, Alaska 99518, USA
12Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 1115 Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
13Marine Sciences Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA

ABSTRACT: Cetacean–habitat modeling, although still in the early stages of development, represents a potentially powerful tool for predicting cetacean distributions and understanding the ecological processes determining these distributions. Marine ecosystems vary temporally on diel to decadal scales and spatially on scales from several meters to 1000s of kilometers. Many cetacean species are wide-ranging and respond to this variability by changes in distribution patterns. Cetacean–habitat models have already been used to incorporate this variability into management applications, including improvement of abundance estimates, development of marine protected areas, and understanding cetacean–fisheries interactions. We present a review of the development of cetacean–habitat models, organized according to the primary steps involved in the modeling process. Topics covered include purposes for which cetacean–habitat models are developed, scale issues in marine ecosystems, cetacean and habitat data collection, descriptive and statistical modeling techniques, model selection, and model evaluation. To date, descriptive statistical techniques have been used to explore cetacean–habitat relationships for selected species in specific areas; the numbers of species and geographic areas examined using computationally intensive statistic modeling techniques are considerably less, and the development of models to test specific hypotheses about the ecological processes determining cetacean distributions has just begun. Future directions in cetacean–habitat modeling span a wide range of possibilities, from development of basic modeling techniques to addressing important ecological questions.


KEY WORDS: Cetacean–habitat modeling · Predictive models · Regression models · Cross validation · Spatial autocorrelation · Classification models · Ordination · Environmental envelope models


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