SPATIOTEMPORAL PREDICTION MODELS OF CETACEAN HABITATS IN THE MID-WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN (FROM CAPE HATTERAS, NORTH CAROLINA, U.S.A. TO NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA)

Authors


Abstract

Habitat prediction models were developed for 13 cetacean species of the mid-western North Atlantic Ocean: beaked whale, fin whale, humpback whale, minke whale, pilot whale, sperm whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Risso's dolphin, spotted dolphin, whitesided dolphin, and harbor porpoise. Using the multiple logistic regression, sightings of cetaceans during the 1990–1996 summer (June-September) surveys were modeled with oceanographic (sea surface temperature, monthly probability of front occurrence) and topographic (depth, slope) variables for the same period. Predicted habitat maps for June and August were created for each species using a Geographical Information System. The predicted habitat locations matched with current and historic cetacean sighting locations. The model also predicted habitat shifts for some species associated with oceanographic changes. The correct classification rate of the prediction models with 1997–1998 summer survey data ranged from 44% to 70%, of which most of the misclassifications were caused by false positives (i.e., absence of sightings at locations where the models predicted).

Ancillary