MEPS - Vol. 363 - Feature article

Modelled densities indicate scale-independence in dolphin- habitat relationships Image: J.V. Redfern

Redfern JV, Barlow J, Ballance LT, Gerrodette T, Becker EA


Absence of scale dependence in dolphin-habitat models for the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean


A tenet of ecology is that species–habitat relationships should be scale-dependent. Redfern and co-workers found that dolphin–habitat relationships for a 20 million km2 area of the oceanic eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) showed little variation from 2 to 120 km spatial resolution. The predictive power of species–habitat models depended more on interannual habitat variability than on resolution. This scale-independence suggests that these resolution levels occur within a single domain of scale. The domain may be determined by the large-scale processes driving the physical oceanography of the ETP, or by the scale at which these species respond to oceanographic variability in the ETP.


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