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Density and spatial distribution patterns of Cetaceans in the central North Pacific based on Habitat models
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Density and spatial distribution patterns of Cetaceans in the central North Pacific based on Habitat models
  • Description:
    "Habitat-based density models were developed for cetaceans in the Central North Pacific based on cetacean survey data collected by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in 1997- 2006. Cetacean sighting data were collected on systematic line-transect surveys in the temperate eastern Pacific, around Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, and in the eastern tropical Pacific west of 120 degrees longitude. Habitat variables, derived from satellite data, included sea surface temperature, sea surface chlorophyll, sea surface height root-mean-square, primary productivity, distance to land, latitude, and longitude. Models were developed for the pantropical spotted dolphin, spinner dolphin, striped dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin, false killer whale, short-finned pilot whale, sperm whale, Bryde's whale, and an 'other dolphins' group that included the short-beaked common and Pacific white-sided dolphin. Uniform densities were estimated for species/guilds that had insufficient sightings for modeling, including pygmy killer whale, Risso's dolphin, killer whale, a small beaked whale guild (including Cuvier's beaked whale and beaked whales of the genus Mesoplodon), and pygmy/dwarf sperm whale. Although validation using an independent survey was not possible, modeled density estimates for the 10 species/species group were compared to previously published line-transect density estimates derived within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone around Hawaii. The modelbased estimates of abundance fall within the 95% confidence limits of the standard line-transect analyses, and they provide greater spatial resolution of the density estimates based on habitat associations. These new models are intended as baseline density estimates for Navy planning and environmental impact statements, to be updated and improved as additional survey data become available in the future"--Abstract.
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