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Perez-Jorge S.,Global Vision International Kenya GVI | Perez-Jorge S.,CSIC - Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies | Pereira T.,Global Vision International Kenya GVI | Corne C.,Global Vision International Kenya GVI | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Along the East African coast, marine top predators are facing an increasing number of anthropogenic threats which requires the implementation of effective and urgent conservation measures to protect essential habitats. Understanding the role that habitat features play on the marine top predator' distribution and abundance is a crucial step to evaluate the suitability of an existing Marine Protected Area (MPA), originally designated for the protection of coral reefs. We developed species distribution models (SDM) on the IUCN data deficient Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) in southern Kenya. We followed a comprehensive ecological modelling approach to study the environmental factors influencing the occurrence and abundance of dolphins while developing SDMs. Through the combination of ensemble prediction maps, we defined recurrent, occasional and unfavourable habitats for the species. Our results showed the influence of dynamic and static predictors on the dolphins' spatial ecology: dolphins may select shallow areas (5-30 m), close to the reefs (< 500 m) and oceanic fronts (< 10 km) and adjacent to the 100m isobath (< 5 km).We also predicted a significantly higher occurrence and abundance of dolphins within the MPA. Recurrent and occasional habitats were identified on large percentages on the existing MPA (47% and 57% using presence-absence and abundance models respectively). However, the MPA does not adequately encompass all occasional and recurrent areas and within this context, we propose to extend the MPA to incorporate all of them which are likely key habitats for the highly mobile species. The results from this study provide two key conservation and management tools: (i) an integrative habitat modelling approach to predict key marine habitats, and (ii) the first study evaluating the effectiveness of an existing MPA for marine mammals in the Western Indian Ocean. Copyright: © 2015 Pérez-Jorge et al. Source


Pinnegar J.K.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Goni N.,AZTI Fundazioa | Trenkel V.M.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea | Arrizabalaga H.,AZTI Fundazioa | And 3 more authors.
Earth System Science Data | Year: 2015

There is increasing demand for information on predator-prey interactions in the ocean as a result of legislative commitments aimed at achieving sustainable exploitation. However, comprehensive data sets are lacking for many fish species and this has hampered development of multispecies fisheries models and the formulation of effective food-web indicators. This work describes a new compilation of stomach content data for five pelagic fish species (herring, blue whiting, mackerel, albacore and bluefin tuna) sampled across the northeast Atlantic and submitted to the PANGAEA open-access data portal (www.pangaea.de). We provide detailed descriptions of sample origin and of the corresponding database structures. We describe the main results in terms of diet composition and predator-prey relationships. The feeding preferences of small pelagic fish (herring, blue whiting, mackerel) were sampled over a very broad geographic area within the North Atlantic basin, from Greenland in the west, to the Lofoten Islands in the east and from the Bay of Biscay northwards to the Arctic. This analysis revealed significant differences in the prey items selected in different parts of the region at different times of year. Tunas (albacore and bluefin) were sampled in the Bay of Biscay and Celtic Sea. Dominant prey items for these species varied by location, year and season. This data compilation exercise represents one of the largest and most wide-ranging ever attempted for pelagic fish in the North Atlantic. The earliest data included in the database were collected in 1864, whereas the most recent were collected in 2012. © Author(s) 2015. Source

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