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Predictive habitat modelling of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in South West Australia.

Sprogis, K., Pollock, K., Kobryn, H., Johnston, D., Wells, R. and Bejder, L. (2011) Predictive habitat modelling of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in South West Australia. In: 48th Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Science Association, 3 - 7 July, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Abstract

Animals prefer to use an area based on its physical environment (e.g., depth, slope, sea surface temperature, habitat type), food availability, protection from predators, suitability as a breeding or calving ground and lack of anthropogenic pressures. Detecting these critical areas and explaining the factors that influence habitat use and movements are important for conservation and management efforts of a species. Habitat modelling is a powerful tool for predicting distribution patterns and understanding the ecological and physical factors that determine these distributions. Several different modelling techniques are available. Models that are commonly used for marine mammal species include hypothesis testing, maximum entropy, multivariate statistical modeling and multivariate ordination and classification. In this study, the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) is used as a model species to investigate which habitat models perform best. Over the past four years research on abundance, distribution, social structure, foraging ecology and conservation genetics has been conducted on the study population in Bunbury, South West Australia. This project will continue to collect data for an additional three years using the same established techniques. The study area will be expanded to now cover an area of 475km2, extending offshore to 9.3 km. Greater coverage of the benthic habitat type and complexity will be recorded through an increased number of transect routes and validation points of the current habitat classifications (drop down camera ground truthing). Other relationships with dolphin distributions will also be considered for additional variables, for example, sea surface temperature, prey distribution and vessel density.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Conference Website: https://www.amsa.asn.au/conference/amsa2011_freman...
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/6680
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