Using habitat models to identify suitable sites for marine protected areas for harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)

C B Embling, Phil Gillibrand, J Gordon, J Shrimpton, P T Stevick, Philip S. Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The harbour porpoise is a highly mobile species and thus represents a considerable challenge in the context of using marine protected areas (MPAs) for conservation. The shelf waters off the west coast of Scotland have been identified as an area of year-round presence, high density in comparison to surrounding areas, and a high young to adult ratio in summer and are thus a suitable area for exploring the location of possible special areas of conservations (SACs) under the EU Habitats Directive. We carried out dedicated surveys over three summers in the southern Inner Hebrides and used generalised additive models (GAMs) to predict areas of high relative density for harbour porpoises for each year. After compensating for survey effects, static bathymetric and persistent hydrographic variables were used in a step-wise model selection procedure. In all years harbour porpoise distribution was best explained by maximum tidal current, with higher densities predicted in areas of low current, and the same high density areas predicted year-on-year. Perimeter-to-area ratio was used to identify which areas should be considered as a basis for designating SACs for harbour porpoise in this area, to form part of the Natura 2000 network. The method used here combines spatial modelling and perimeter-to-area ratio for selecting protected areas, a methodology which is suitable for the protection of other animal species. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-279
Number of pages13
JournalBIOL CONSERV
Volume143
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Environmental Sciences
  • SCOTLAND
  • ABUNDANCE
  • BAY
  • SEASONAL DISTRIBUTION
  • RESERVE NETWORKS
  • DIVING BEHAVIOR
  • CONSERVATION
  • Ecology
  • BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHINS
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • SUITABILITY MODELS
  • DESIGN

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using habitat models to identify suitable sites for marine protected areas for harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Embling, C. B., Gillibrand, P., Gordon, J., Shrimpton, J., Stevick, P. T., & Hammond, P. S. (2010). Using habitat models to identify suitable sites for marine protected areas for harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). BIOL CONSERV, 143(2), 267-279. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.09.005