alexa Long-t erm presence and habitat use of Cuvier’s beakedwhale (Ziphius cavirostris ) in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea
Geology & Earth Science

Geology & Earth Science

Journal of Oceanography and Marine Research

Author(s): Antonella Arcangeli, Ilaria Campana, Luca Marini, Colin D MacLeod

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Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris, G. Cuvier 1823) is a poorly knownspecies and many international agreements have asked for a better understand-ing of its biology for conservation purposes. In the present study, systematiccetacean surveys were carried out from ferries along a trans-regional fixed tran-sect in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea (Civitavecchia, Latium – Golfo Aranci,Sardinia), just outside the southeastern border of the Pelagos Sanctuary. Thisresearch provided long-term, consistent data on Cuvier’s beaked whale duringtwo research periods (1990–1992 and 2007–2011). The objective of the researchwas to compare the presence, distribution and habitat use of Cuvier’s beakedwhale between the two investigated periods. Summer data (June–September)from the two periods were compared in terms of frequency of sightings, groupsize and spatial distribution related to the main ecogeographical features. Apresence-absence model (generalized additive modelling) was performed topredict habitat suitability in the two study periods. The results highlight long-term site fidelity of Cuvier’s beaked whale in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea withencounter rates comparable to the ones reported for other key areas. Separatesuitability models based on 1990s and 2000s data appeared to work for eachindividual time period but differences were evident between the two periods,indicating changes in habitat selection over time. Our findings of the studyappear to expand the definition of suitable beaked whale habitat and underlinehow the temporal scale of the analysis can affect the results in habitat studies.Moreover, this research highlights the importance of the Central TyrrhenianSea marine region for Cuvier’s beaked whale and the ability of continuousmonitoring to identify changes in cetacean frequency and distribution, neces-sary for adaptive conservation management approaches.

This article was published in Marine Ecology and referenced in Journal of Oceanography and Marine Research

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