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  • 1
    ISSN: 1572-9761
    Keywords: gap model ; gradient analysis ; landscape pattern ; sensitivity analysis ; Sierra Nevada ; spatial scale ; water balance
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Vegetation pattern on landscapes is the manifestation of physical gradients, biotic response to these gradients, and disturbances. Here we focus on the physical template as it governs the distribution of mixed-conifer forests in California's Sierra Nevada. We extended a forest simulation model to examine montane environmental gradients, emphasizing factors affecting the water balance in these summer-dry landscapes. The model simulates the soil moisture regime in terms of the interaction of water supply and demand: supply depends on precipitation and water storage, while evapotranspirational demand varies with solar radiation and temperature. The forest cover itself can affect the water balance via canopy interception and evapotranspiration. We simulated Sierran forests as slope facets, defined as gridded stands of homogeneous topographic exposure, and verified simulated gradient response against sample quadrats distributed across Sequoia National Park. We then performed a modified sensitivity analysis of abiotic factors governing the physical gradient. Importantly, the model's sensitivity to temperature, precipitation, and soil depth varies considerably over the physical template, particularly relative to elevation. The physical drivers of the water balance have characteristic spatial scales that differ by orders of magnitude. Across large spatial extents, temperature and precipitation as defined by elevation primarily govern the location of the mixed conifer zone. If the analysis is constrained to elevations within the mixed-conifer zone, local topography comes into play as it influences drainage. Soil depth varies considerably at all measured scales, and is especially dominant at fine (within-stand) scales. Physical site variables can influence soil moisture deficit either by affecting water supply or water demand; these effects have qualitatively different implications for forest response. These results have clear implications about purely inferential approaches to gradient analysis, and bear strongly on our ability to use correlative approaches in assessing the potential responses of montane forests to anthropogenic climatic change.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of John Wiley & Sons for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Mammal Science 25 (2009): 402-415, doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2008.00263.x.
    Description: For closely related sympatric species to coexist, they must differ to some degree in their ecological requirements or niches (e.g., diets) to avoid inter-specific competition. Baleen whales in the Antarctic feed primarily on krill, and the large sympatric pre-whaling community suggests resource partitioning among these species or a non-limiting prey resource. In order to examine ecological differences between sympatric humpback and minke whales around the Western Antarctic Peninsula, we made measurements of the physical environment, observations of whale distribution, and concurrent acoustic measurements of krill aggregations. Mantel’s tests and Classification and regression tree models indicate both similarities and differences in the spatial associations between humpback and minke whales, environmental features, and prey. The data suggest (1) similarities (proximity to shore) and differences (prey abundance versus deep water temperatures) in horizontal spatial distribution patterns, (2) unambiguous vertical resource partitioning with minke whales associating with deeper krill aggregations across a range of spatial scales, and (3) that interference competition between these two species is unlikely. These results add to the paucity of ecological knowledge relating baleen whales and their prey in the Antarctic and should be considered in conservation and management efforts for Southern Ocean cetaceans and ecosystems.
    Description: This research was supported by the International Whaling Commission, the Duke University Marine Laboratory, NSF US Antarctic Program Grant OPP-9910307 as part of the Southern Ocean GLOBEC project, and a Fulbright Scholarship and Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-03-1-0212 (to G. Lawson).
    Keywords: Diving and foraging behavior ; Krill ; Spatial analysis ; Whales ; Antarctica
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Preprint
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e19269, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019269.
    Description: Beaked whales, specifically Blainville's (Mesoplodon densirostris) and Cuvier's (Ziphius cavirostris), are known to feed in the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas. These whales can be reliably detected and often localized within the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) acoustic sensor system. The AUTEC range is a regularly spaced bottom mounted hydrophone array covering 〉350 nm2 providing a valuable network to record anthropogenic noise and marine mammal vocalizations. Assessments of the potential risks of noise exposure to beaked whales have historically occurred in the absence of information about the physical and biological environments in which these animals are distributed. In the fall of 2008, we used a downward looking 38 kHz SIMRAD EK60 echosounder to measure prey scattering layers concurrent with fine scale turbulence measurements from an autonomous turbulence profiler. Using an 8 km, 4-leaf clover sampling pattern, we completed a total of 7.5 repeat surveys with concurrently measured physical and biological oceanographic parameters, so as to examine the spatiotemporal scales and relationships among turbulence levels, biological scattering layers, and beaked whale foraging activity. We found a strong correlation among increased prey density and ocean vertical structure relative to increased click densities. Understanding the habitats of these whales and their utilization patterns will improve future models of beaked whale habitat as well as allowing more comprehensive assessments of exposure risk to anthropogenic sound.
    Description: The data collection and analysis was funded by the Office of Naval Research as N00014-08-1-1162.
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-08-31
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Bioscience 67 (2017): 760–768, doi:10.1093/biosci/bix059.
    Description: As the sampling frequency and resolution of Earth observation imagery increase, there are growing opportunities for novel applications in population monitoring. New methods are required to apply established analytical approaches to data collected from new observation platforms (e.g., satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles). Here, we present a method that estimates regional seasonal abundances for an understudied and growing population of gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) in southeastern Massachusetts, using opportunistic observations in Google Earth imagery. Abundance estimates are derived from digital aerial survey counts by adapting established correction-based analyses with telemetry behavioral observation to quantify survey biases. The result is a first regional understanding of gray seal abundance in the northeast US through opportunistic Earth observation imagery and repurposed animal telemetry data. As species observation data from Earth observation imagery become more ubiquitous, such methods provide a robust, adaptable, and cost-effective solution to monitoring animal colonies and understanding species abundances.
    Description: We would like to thank generous support from International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, and the Oak Foundation for funding support for the telemetry devices.
    Keywords: Abundance estimation ; Gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) ; Cape Cod ; Remote sensing ; Earth observation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 317 (2006): 297-310, doi:10.3354/meps317297.
    Description: The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is a biologically rich area supporting large standing stocks of krill and top predators (including whales, seals and seabirds). Physical forcing greatly affects productivity, recruitment, survival and distribution of krill in this area. In turn, such interactions are likely to affect the distribution of baleen whales. The Southern Ocean GLOBEC research program aims to explore the relationships and interactions between the environment, krill and predators around Marguerite Bay (WAP) in autumn 2001 and 2002. Bathymetric and environmental variables including acoustic backscattering as an indicator of prey abundance were used to model whale distribution patterns. We used an iterative approach employing (1) classification and regression tree (CART) models to identify oceanographic and ecological variables contributing to variability in humpback Megaptera novaeangliae and minke Balaenoptera acutorstrata whale distribution, and (2) generalized additive models (GAMs) to elucidate functional ecological relationships between these variables and whale distribution. The CART models indicated that the cetacean distribution was tightly coupled with zooplankton acoustic volume backscatter in the upper (25 to 100 m), and middle (100 to 300 m) portions of the water column. Whale distribution was also related to distance from the ice edge and bathymetric slope. The GAMs indicated a persistent, strong, positive relationship between increasing zooplankton volume and whale relative abundance. Furthermore, there was a lower limit for averaged acoustic volume backscatter of zooplankton below which the relationship between whales and prey was not significant. The GAMs also supported an annual relationship between whale distribution, distance from the ice edge and bathymetric slope, suggesting that these are important features for aggregating prey. Our results demonstrate that during the 2 yr study, whales were consistently and predictably associated with the distribution of zooplankton. Thus, humpback and minke whales may be able to locate physical features and oceanographic processes that enhance prey aggregation.
    Description: Resources for this project were provided by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs grant OPP-9910307 and the International Whaling Commission. This work represents a portion of A.S.F.’s dissertation, funded by a Duke University Marine Laboratory Fellowship.
    Keywords: Whale distribution ; Zooplankton ; Ice edge ; Antarctica ; SO GLOBEC ; CART ; GAM
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 395 (2009): 91-100, doi:10.3354/meps08003.
    Description: Humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae have adopted unique feeding strategies to take advantage of behavioral changes in their prey. However, logistical constraints have largely limited ecological analyses of these interactions. Our objectives were to (1) link humpback whale feeding behaviors to concurrent measurements of prey using scientific echo-sounders, and (2) quantify how sand lance behavior influences the feeding behaviors and foraging ecology of humpback whales. To measure, in fine detail, the 3-dimensional orientation and movement patterns of humpback whales underwater, we used a multi-sensor tag attached via suction cups (DTAG). We tested the specific hypothesis that the diel movement patterns of sand lance between bottom substrate and the water column correlates to changes between surface and bottom feeding strategies of humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, MA. We collected over 96 h of both day- and nighttime data from 15 whales in 2006, and recorded 393 surface and 230 bottom feeding events. Individual whales exhibit both surface and bottom feeding behaviors, switching from one to the other in relation to changing light and prey conditions. Surface feeding behaviors were individually variable in their constitution but ubiquitously biased towards daylight hours, when prey was most abundant in the upper portion of the water column. Bottom feeding behavior occurred largely at night, coincident with when sand lance descend to seek refuge in the substrate. Our data provide novel insights into the behavioral ecology of humpback whales and their prey, indicating significant diel patterns in foraging behaviors concurrent with changes in prey behavior.
    Description: This research was carried out under MMPA Permit #981-1707-01.
    Keywords: Humpback whales ; Sand lance ; Diel feeding ; Predator–prey interactions
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-05-11
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Conservation Biology 31 (2017): 601-614, doi:10.1111/cobi.12856.
    Description: As human activities expand beyond national jurisdictions to the high seas, there is an increasing need to consider anthropogenic impacts to species inhabiting these waters. The current scarcity of scientific observations of cetaceans in the high seas impedes the assessment of population-level impacts of these activities. We developed plausible density estimates to facilitate a quantitative assessment of anthropogenic impacts on cetacean populations in these waters. Our study region extended from a well-surveyed region within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone into a large region of the western North Atlantic sparsely surveyed for cetaceans. We modeled densities of 15 cetacean taxa with available line transect survey data and habitat covariates and extrapolated predictions to sparsely surveyed regions. We formulated models to reduce the extent of extrapolation beyond covariate ranges, and constrained them to model simple and generalizable relationships. To evaluate confidence in the predictions, we mapped where predictions were made outside sampled covariate ranges, examined alternate models, and compared predicted densities with maps of sightings from sources that could not be integrated into our models. Confidence levels in model results depended on the taxon and geographic area and highlighted the need for additional surveying in environmentally distinct areas. With application of necessary caution, our density estimates can inform management needs in the high seas, such as the quantification of potential cetacean interactions with military training exercises, shipping, fisheries, and deep-sea mining and be used to delineate areas of special biological significance in international waters. Our approach is generally applicable to other marine taxa and geographic regions for which management will be implemented but data are sparse.
    Description: Conforme las actividades humanas se expanden más allá de las jurisdicciones nacionales hacia alta mar, existe una necesidad creciente de considerar los impactos antropogénicos sobre las especies que habitan estas aguas. La carencia de observaciones científicas de cetáceos en alta mar impide la evaluación de los impactos a nivel poblacional de estas actividades. Desarrollamos estimaciones plausibles de densidad para facilitar una evaluación cuantitativa de los impactos antropogénicos sobre las poblaciones de cetáceos en estas aguas. Nuestra región de estudio se extendió desde una región bien estudiada dentro de la Zona Económica Exclusiva de los E.U.A. hasta una región en el oeste del Atlántico Norte con pocos censos sobre cetáceos. Modelamos las densidades de 15 taxones de cetáceos con datos de censos con transecto de línea disponible y covariables de hábitat, y extrapolamos las predicciones a regiones poco estudiadas. Formulamos los modelos para reducir la extensión de la extrapolación más allá de los rangos covariados y los restringimos para modelar relaciones simples y generalizables. Para evaluar la confianza de las predicciones mapeamos dónde las predicciones se hicieron fuera de las extensiones covariadas muestreadas, examinamos los modelos alternativos, y comparamos las densidades pronosticadas con los mapas de los avistamientos a partir de fuentes que no podían ser integradas a nuestro modelo. Los niveles de confianza en los resultados de los modelos dependieron del taxón y el área geográfica y resaltaron la necesidad de censos adicionales en áreas distintas ambientalmente. Con la aplicación de la cautela necesaria, nuestras estimaciones de densidad pueden informar a las necesidades de manejo en alta mar, como la cuantificación de las interacciones potenciales de cetáceos con los ejercicios de entrenamiento militar, embarcaciones, pesquerías, y la minería de aguas profundas; también puede usarse para delinear las áreas de importancia biológica especial en las aguas internacionales. Nuestra estrategia es aplicable generalmente a otros taxones marinos y regiones geográficas para las cuales el manejo va a ser implementado pero los datos son escasos.
    Description: U.S. Fleet Forces Command Grant Number: N62470-13-2-8008; NOAA/NMFS Grant Number: EE-133F-14-SE-3558; National Aeronautics and Space Administration Grant Number: NNX08AK73G
    Keywords: Extrapolation ; Habitat-based density models ; Survey coverage ; Cobertura de censo ; Extrapolación ; Modelos de densidad basados en el hábitat
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-05-16
    Description: Author Posting. © The Oceanography Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of The Oceanography Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Oceanography 30, no. 1 (2017): 90–103, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2017.116.
    Description: The existence, sources, distribution, circulation, and physicochemical nature of macroscale oceanic water bodies have long been a focus of oceanographic inquiry. Building on that work, this paper describes an objectively derived and globally comprehensive set of 37 distinct volumetric region units, called ecological marine units (EMUs). They are constructed on a regularly spaced ocean point-mesh grid, from sea surface to seafloor, and attributed with data from the 2013 World Ocean Atlas version 2. The point attribute data are the means of the decadal averages from a 57-year climatology of six physical and chemical environment parameters (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, and silicate). The database includes over 52 million points that depict the global ocean in x, y, and z dimensions. The point data were statistically clustered to define the 37 EMUs, which represent physically and chemically distinct water volumes based on spatial variation in the six marine environmental characteristics used. The aspatial clustering to produce the 37 EMUs did not include point location or depth as a determinant, yet strong geographic and vertical separation was observed. Twenty-two of the 37 EMUs are globally or regionally extensive, and account for 99% of the ocean volume, while the remaining 15 are smaller and shallower, and occur around coastal features. We assessed the vertical distribution of EMUs in the water column and placed them into classical depth zones representing epipelagic (0 m to 200 m), mesopelagic (200 m to 1,000 m), bathypelagic (1,000 m to 4,000 m) and abyssopelagic (〉4,000 m) layers. The mapping and characterization of the EMUs represent a new spatial framework for organizing and understanding the physical, chemical, and ultimately biological properties and processes of oceanic water bodies. The EMUs are an initial objective partitioning of the ocean using long-term historical average data, and could be extended in the future by adding new classification variables and by introducing functionality to develop time-specific EMU distribution maps. The EMUs are an open-access resource, and as both a standardized geographic framework and a baseline physicochemical characterization of the oceanic environment, they are intended to be useful for disturbance assessments, ecosystem accounting exercises, conservation priority setting, and marine protected area network design, along with other research and management applications.
    Description: Cressie’s research was partially supported by a 2015–2017 Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP150104576). Goodin’s research was partially supported by the Langar Foundation. Kavanaugh’s research was partially supported by the National Ocean Partnership Program’s Marine Sanctuaries as Sentinel Sites for a Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Observation Network award (NNX14AP62A).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    Description: Author Posting. © The Authors, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of NRC Research Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66 (2009): 1399-1403, doi:10.1139/F09-115.
    Description: Despite many years of study and protection, the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) remains on the brink of extinction. There is a crucial gap in our understanding of their habitat use in the migratory corridor along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Here, we characterize habitat suitability in migrating right whales in relation to depth, distance to shore, and the recently enacted ship speed regulations near major ports. We find that the range of suitable habitat exceeds previous estimates and that, as compared with the enacted 20 nautical mile buffer, the originally proposed 30 nautical mile buffer would protect more habitat for this critically endangered species.
    Description: This work was supported in part by SERDP/DoD grant W912HQ-04-C-0011 to A.J. Read and P.N. Halpin as well as a James B. Duke Fellowship and a Harvey L. Smith Dissertation Year Fellowship to R.S. Schick.
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-12-27
    Description: Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 310 (2006): 271-295, doi:10.3354/meps310271.
    Description: 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.
    Description: Funding from the U.S. Navy and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) supported this research under Projects CS-1390 and CS-1391.
    Keywords: Cetacean–habitat modeling ; Predictive models ; Regression models ; Cross validation ; Spatial autocorrelation ; Classification models ; Ordination ; Environmental envelope models
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