Quantifying marine mammal hotspots in British Columbia, Canada

dc.contributor.authorHarvey, Gillian K. A.
dc.contributor.authorNelson, Trisalyn A.
dc.contributor.authorFox, Caroline H.
dc.contributor.authorPaquet, Paul C.
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-07T19:17:17Z
dc.date.available2018-09-07T19:17:17Z
dc.date.copyright2017en_US
dc.date.issued2017
dc.description.abstractGlobal biodiversity is undergoing rapid decline due to direct and indirect anthropogenic impacts to species and ecosystems. Marine species, in particular, are experiencing accelerated population declines leading to many species being considered at risk by regional, national, and international standards. As one conservation approach, decisions made using spatially explicit information on marine wildlife populations have the potential to facilitate recovery and contribute to national and international commitments toward conservation targets. Delineating areas of intense use by species at risk can inform future marine spatial planning and conservation efforts, including the identification of marine protected areas. Methods for detecting hotspots (e.g., areas with high density and/or abundance) enable categorical mapping of the most intensely used areas. Yet, many of the current methods for delineating hotspots, such as the top 5% threshold, are subjective and fail to account for spatial patterns. Our goal was to map spatially continuous distributions of marine mammal densities and employ quantitative statistical methods to extract hotspot locations on the northern coast of British Columbia. We integrated systematically surveyed species information with environmental variables using generalized additive models to predict marine mammal distribution and density. Hotspots were identified from the density surfaces using two approaches: aspatial top 5% method and spatially local Gi* statistic using three neighborhood definitions. Heterogeneous density patterns were observed for all species, and high‐density regions were generally clustered in areas exhibiting oceanographic characteristics that may promote concentrated food resources. Combining species density surfaces and extracting hotspot locations identified regions important to multiple species and present candidate locations for future conservation efforts. Contributions from this research provide robust statistical methods to objectively map hotspot locations and generate GIS data products for informing coastal conservation decisions.en_US
dc.description.reviewstatusRevieweden_US
dc.description.scholarlevelFacultyen_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNumerous individuals and organizations are gratefully acknowledged for their contributions to the marine mammal surveys completed by Raincoast Conservation Foundation. We also thank B. D. Best, R. Williams, and P. N. Halpin for their efforts to analyze and report their findings regarding the marine mammal survey data. This research could not have been completed without support provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and the Spatial Pattern Analysis and Research Lab (SPAR).en_US
dc.identifier.citationHarvey, G.K.A.; Nelson, T.A.; Fox, C.H.; & Paquet, P.C. (2017). Quantifying marine mammal hotspots in British Columbia. Ecosphere, 8(7), article e01884. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1884en_US
dc.identifier.urihttps://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1884
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1828/10043
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.publisherEcosphereen_US
dc.subjectBritish Columbia, Canadaen_US
dc.subjectcetaceansen_US
dc.subjectconservation prioritizationen_US
dc.subjecthotspotsen_US
dc.subjectmarine conservationen_US
dc.subjectmarine mammalsen_US
dc.subjectpinnipedsen_US
dc.subjectpredictive modelingen_US
dc.subjectspecies-habitat modelsen_US
dc.titleQuantifying marine mammal hotspots in British Columbia, Canadaen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US

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