Techniques for Cetacean-Habitat Modeling

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Redfern, J.; Ferguson, M.; Becker, E.; Hyrenbach, K.; Good, C.; Barlow, J.; Kaschner, K.; Baumgartner, M.; Forney, K.; Ballance, L.; Fauchald, P.; Halpin, P.; Hamazaki, T.; Pershing, A.; Qian, S.; Read, A.; Reilly, S.; Torres, L.; Werner, F. (2006). Techniques for Cetacean-Habitat Modeling. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 310, 271-295.
Abstract: 

Cetacean–habitat modeling, although still in the early stages of development, represents a potentially powerful tool for predicting cetacean distributions and understanding the ecological processes determining these distributions. Marine ecosystems vary temporally on diel to decadal scales and spatially on scales from several meters to 1000s of kilometers. Many cetacean species are wide-ranging and respond to this variability by changes in distribution patterns. Cetacean–habitat models have already been used to incorporate this variability into management applications, including improvement of abundance estimates, development of marine protected areas, and understanding cetacean–fisheries interactions. We present a review of the development of cetacean–habitat models, organized according to the primary steps involved in the modeling process. Topics covered include purposes for which cetacean–habitat models are developed, scale issues in marine ecosystems, cetacean and habitat data collection, descriptive and statistical modeling techniques, model selection, and model evaluation. To date, descriptive statistical techniques have been used to explore cetacean–habitat relationships for selected species in specific areas; the numbers of species and geographic areas examined using computationally intensive statistic modeling techniques are considerably less, and the development of models to test specific hypotheses about the ecological processes determining cetacean distributions has just begun. Future directions in cetacean–habitat modeling span a wide range of possibilities, from development of basic modeling techniques to addressing important ecological questions.

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