Relating gray whale abundance to environmental variables

Date

2009-07-16T15:08:56Z

Authors

Garside, Chelsea Faye

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Abstract

The abundance of gray whales along the coast of Flores Island, BC, varies on an annual basis. This thesis searches for a relationship between gray whale abundance in this area and environmental forcing factors. Regression analysis was used to search for relationships, using gray whale abundance as the dependent variable and sea-surface temperature, salinity, wind speed, upwelling indices and hours of bright sunlight. Independent variables were also lagged against gray whale abundance to search for time lags between variables. When combine in a multiple regression model, wind speed and upwelling lagged two years explained 89.6% (p = 0.004) of the variance in gray whale abundance. A possible pathway for this relationship may exist through local kelp populations, which have the ability to affect gray whale prey abundance.

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Keywords

gray whale, environmental variable, upwelling, wind speed, regression analysis

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