Analysis of Marine Mammal Biologically Important Areas and Species Density on the East Coast

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2023-04-28

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Abstract

In accordance with various federal regulations, any agency or organization planning to conduct activities in the marine environment that may harm marine mammals must undergo an impact assessment process. Two available tools to assist resource managers in these analyses include biologically important areas (BIAs) and habitat-based density models. BIAs were delineated through expert elicitation and represent temporal feeding, reproductive, and migratory areas, while the models combine animal sighting and environmental data to estimate species density on a broad scale. Both were first published in 2015/2016 and have undergone updates in 2022/2023. This project uses North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales on the East Coast as focus species to assess (1) monthly species abundance within each BIA, (2) the relationship strength between BIA type and species abundance, (3) the changes in these relationships over time, and (4) the influence of a new scoring component on the relationship between abundance and active period.

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Ozog, Jessica (2023). Analysis of Marine Mammal Biologically Important Areas and Species Density on the East Coast. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27231.


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