The CCI Conservation Seminar
The CCI Conservation Seminar Series 2019 – 2020 begins on Wednesday 16 October with Dr Charlotte Boyd:
Investigating the spatial distribution patterns of highly mobile species
Charlotte Boyd PhD, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
Many threatened marine species are highly mobile, with dynamic distributions that vary in response to variation in prey availability and suitable habitat. Predicting the distribution patterns of these species is challenging but essential for the design of effective conservation strategies. In this seminar, I will use two case studies to demonstrate recently developed methods for estimating and predicting dynamic distribution patterns. In the first study, the dynamic distribution of Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) is estimated from line-transect survey data using a Bayesian state-space model that allows the modelled population to redistribute itself over the survey season in line with the distribution of suitable habitat. In the second study, the seasonal distribution patterns of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Cook Inlet, Alaska, are estimated from Argos telemetry data. A combination of established and newly developed methods is used to estimate the locations of tracked animals, partition tracks into seasonal modes, estimate seasonal movement patterns as a function of habitat covariates and predict seasonally structured utilisation densities. Both modelling approaches are broadly applicable to highly mobile species in marine and terrestrial systems.