| Inferring trackline detection probabilities from differences in apparent densities of Beaked whales and Dwarf & Pygmy sperm whales in different survey conditions - :4380 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Inferring trackline detection probabilities from differences in apparent densities of Beaked whales and Dwarf & Pygmy sperm whales in different survey conditions
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    "Visual line-transect surveys are commonly used to estimate the abundance of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). A key parameter in this method is the probability of detecting a cetacean that is directly on the transect line or g(0). Beaked whales and dwarf & pygmy sperm whales are visually inconspicuous and dive for long periods of time. Previous studies have shown that trackline detection probability is low for these species even in the best survey conditions. Trackline detection probability has never been estimated for them in poor survey conditions. A method is developed here to estimate the relative values of trackline detection probability by comparing estimates of apparent density in different survey conditions (measured as Beaufort state) using estimated density in the best survey conditions as a reference point. Using data from line-transect surveys in the eastern tropical Pacific, this approach yields consistent estimates of trackline detection probability for beaked whales and for dwarf & pygmy sperm whales as functions of sighting conditions in two adjacent study areas. Results show that g(0) for beaked whales is similar for Beaufort 0 and 1 conditions but decreases with increasing Beaufort to less than 10% of that value in Beaufort 5. For dwarf & pygmy sperm whales g(0) decreases even faster with Beaufort state and, in Beaufort 2, is less than 10% of its value in Beaufort 0. These relative values of g(0) are used to extrapolate published estimates of g(0) for calm seas to yield values for Beaufort states 0 to 5"--Abstract.

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