Linking Cetaceans to Their Environment: Spatial Data Acquisition, Digital Processing and Predictive Modeling for Marine Spatial Planning in the Northwest Atlantic


Cetaceans are large bodied, long-lived and highly mobile marine animals that exhibit extensive migrations, as well as, high site fidelity in areas where they aggregate for feeding, socializing, mating or calving. The marine environment in which they live is characterized by complex spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Cetaceans respond to this dynamic spatial structure at a range of scales, as denoted by their space-use patterns (Kenney et al. 2001; Baumgartner & Mate 2005). Space-use patterns provide important information about distributions of cetaceans and resource managers need these patterns to develop targeted conservation policies and resource management strategies. Despite this urgent need, adequate, spatially-explicit datasets do not exist for many regions of the world. Often resource managers that are charged with protecting endangered or threatened cetaceans have to rely on datasets that are sparse in both space and time. In order to address these knowledge gaps, resource managers urgently require quantitative, spatially explicit data on cetacean species distributions and species—environment relationships at ecologically and operationally relevant scales.


Geographic Information System Multivariate Adaptive Regression Spline Humpback Whale Baleen Whale Mars Model 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biogeography Branch, Center for Coastal Monitoring & AssessmentNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSilver SpringUSA
  2. 2.Marine Science CenterUniversity of the Virgin IslandsSt ThomasUSA

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