Integrated Statistics, Woods Hole, MA,
Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling & School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA
Where the whale-things are: Distribution, detectability and availability modelling for cetacean populations.
Since before the moratorium on commercial whaling, folks have wanted to know how many cetaceans there are and where they can be found. Primarily, we are therefore interested in maps of where whales are and measures of how certain we are about that distribution. Modelling cetaceans is difficult for a number of reasons: (i) distribution, many species travel large distances and occur at relatively low densities over large areas; (ii) detectability, despite their size, even large whales may be difficult to spot due to ocean conditions; (ii) availability, whales exist in three dimensions and may not be available to be detected for long periods of time due to diving behaviour. I'll give an overview of one set of connected approaches to these issues and how they sit together in a relatively flexible modelling framework. Models rely on a two (or more)-stage approach using distance sampling techniques and generalized additive models. Although I'll focus on modelling large(ish) whales, this approach can be applied to most biological populations.
Refreshments at 3:45 pm in Snedecor 2101.