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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 408:1-5 (2010)  -  DOI:

Diversity of deep-water cetaceans and primary productivity

Hal Whitehead*, Kristin O’Brien, Boris Worm

Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada

ABSTRACT: Recently, it has been suggested that mammal diversity both on land and in the sea is controlled by patterns of primary productivity. Here we tested the hypotheses that large-scale patterns of marine mammal diversity are linked to primary productivity, sea surface temperature (SST) or a combination of these 2 factors. We used a consistently sampled sightings database of deep-water cetaceans in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, along with in situ SST measurements and 3 satellite-derived productivity measures matched spatially and temporally to available sightings. Cetacean genus richness peaked in regions of high primary productivity (>1000 to 1500 mg C m–2 d–1), but most of this effect is captured by optimal SST in those same regions. Our results show that the best-supported, explanatory models of cetacean diversity included SST, while the addition of satellite-derived measures of productivity did not improve predictive capacity. Marine mammal richness globally peaks around 40°N and S, and may result more directly from optimal SST at these latitudes rather than high oceanic productivity.

KEY WORDS: Biodiversity · Productivity · Sea surface temperature · Cetacean

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Cite this article as: Whitehead H, O’Brien K, Worm B (2010) Diversity of deep-water cetaceans and primary productivity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 408:1-5.

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