Thus the analysis of cetaceans’ sightings and abundance related to the environmental variables uncovered some relationships. For the oceanographic feature SST no significant relationship could be found in relation to cetacean abundance or even with species group distribution and diversity. Nevertheless when considering all cetacean species together with initial data-exploration using GIS software, water depth was assessed as being the most important factor affecting cetacean abundance rates, being associated with the water depths within 200 to 600m depth. GAM analysis results collaborating and strengthening such hypothesis, as the geographical location combined with the physical environmental parameter (water depth) and oceanographic parameter (Chl-a concentrations) explained up to 67% of variation in cetaceans’ abundance rates.
Therefore when this study is placed in the context of the existing information, it is clear that the availability of prey related and influenced by environmental variables is also linked to cetaceans’ distribution, where groups of distinctive species are in turn influenced by such environmental variables.
Ecology of striped dolphins in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea: Insights from feeding ecology to habitat use.
1, MacLeod, C D1, Richard, P2, Ridoux, V2, Gannier, A3, Laran, S4, David, L5, Di-Méglio, N5, & Pierce G J6,7
1Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences (IBES), University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 3JG, UK.
2Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés, UMR 6250 CNRS-Université de La Rochelle, 17000 La Rochelle, France.
3Groupe de Recherche sur les Cétacés, Antibes, France
4Centre de Recherche sur les Cétacés, Marineland, 306 avenue Mozart, 06600 Antibes, France
5EcoOcéan Institut, 18 rue des Hospices, 34090 Montpellier, France
6Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, P.O. Box 1552, 36200, Vigo, Spain.
7Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, Main Street, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, AB41 6AA, UK.
Based on genetic, toxicological, morphological and dietary analysis, striped dolphins from the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea (NWMS) are suspected to be structured into different components, possibly as a result of differences in feeding ecology. We tested this