SMRU sperm whale distribution around the Balearic Islands 2003-2008
Enrico Pirotta, Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU)

Dataset credit

Luke Rendell and Enrico Pirotta, Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU)

Contacts

RoleNameOrganization 
Primary contact Enrico Pirotta Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews
Primary contact Luke Rendell Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews
Data entry Connie Kot Duke University

Citation

Abstract

Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus habitat preferences are still poorly understood in the Mediterranean, despite the population being classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN. Techniques to make the best use of multiple data sources are important in improving this situation. This work provides
a detailed evaluation of sperm whale distribution and habitat use around the Balearic Islands using a novel analytical framework that combines transect and follow data while accounting for any autocorrelation present. During dedicated research cruises (2003 to 2008), sperm whales were
located by listening at regular intervals along a search track and subsequently followed acoustically. Sperm whales were encountered 56 times and followed for periods ranging from a few hours to 3 d. Logistic Generalized Additive Models were used to model the probability of whale presence across
the study area as a function of environmental variables, and Generalized Estimating Equations were used to account for autocorrelation. The results suggest that sperm whales do not use the region uniformly and that topography plays a key role in shaping their distribution. Moreover, solitary individuals
were found to use the habitat differently from groups. This segregation appeared to be driven by water temperature and might reflect different needs or intraspecific competition. By shedding light on sperm whale habitat preference in such a critical area, this study represents an important step
towards the implementation of conservation measures for this population.

Purpose

In this study we develop a novel analytical framework that can make use of combined acoustic and tracking data and account for autocorrelation in such data. We use a multi-scale approach to investigate the pattern of sperm whale distribution around the Balearic archipelago, and the potential differences in habitat selection by single individuals versus groups.

Supplemental information

Exact numbers for the presence of groups were not available, so an abundance of "2" was used as a conservative estimate. The sequences of consecutive presence points do not represent new animals being encountered, but follows of the same animals.

References

Attributes

Overview

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downlodable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission unless otherwise noted below.

This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes in dataset provided

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by SEAMAP)
recnumRecord number (generated by SEAMAP)
obs_dateObserved date
obs_timeObserved time
latitudeLatitude of observation
longitudeLongitude of observation
presAcoustic contact: presence or absence (1 or 0)
groupingGroup or single
sp_obsSpecies observed
sp_tsnSpecies ITIS TSN
obs_countObserved count (1 for single, 2 for groups)
notesExact group size was not available, and an abundance of "2" was used as a conservative estimate. The sequences of consecutive presence points do not represent new animals being encountered, but follows of the same animals.
OBIS-SEAMAP ID807
Seabirds0
Marine mammals1,125
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Total1,125
Date, Begin2003-08-04
Date, End2008-07-26
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude38.16 - 40.87
Longitude0.63 - 4.78
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
PlatformBoat
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 808)
Traveled (km)11,601
Effort hours1,674
Contr. throughACCOBAMS
Registered2011-12-09
Updated2011-12-13
StatusPublished
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
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