Marine Megafauna Definition

Although the role of small-scale episodic features such as fronts and eddies is difficult to grasp with the resolution of our observational data, it should be noted that the results of our spatial predictions for many species show an increase in encounters in the Western Channel, where fronts are frequent (see description of the study area). Associations of basking sharks [38], [84], sunfish [85], gannets [64], [86], leatherback turtles [45], [87]–[88], bottlenose dolphins [89] and minke whales [90] with frontal areas, topographic and bathymetric features that stimulate frontal activity (i.e., Headlands, straight lines, and deep-water slopes), or dense clusters of planktonic organisms facilitated by fronts, have been documented in the regions around our study area, suggesting that these oceanographic features do indeed play an important role in the spread of a wide range of marine megafauna. Todd, V. L. G., Warley, J. C., & Todd, I. B. (2016). Meals on Wheels? A decade of real-time visual and passive acoustic monitoring of offshore oil and gas platforms and platforms in the North and Irish Seas. PLoS One 11:25.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153320 Raising awareness and understanding the consequences of increased anthropogenic pressures in the marine environment is an important global issue. National and international ocean policy-making, as recently adopted in the European Union (EU) [1] – a region heavily dependent on the exploitation of marine resources – recognises the need to preserve the integrity of marine ecosystems. The English Channel, for example, boasts the busiest sea route in the world and is one of the most affected marine ecosystems on the planet [2]. Here, shipping, fishing, mariculture, coastal and maritime tourism, and underwater mining are just some of the commercial industries exploited by several countries that generate significant revenues, but have the potential to have adverse environmental impacts [3] – [4]. As the search for renewable energy sources progresses to meet the needs of the growing population, anthropogenic pressures in this area are increasing, rather than decreasing. Therefore, there is an urgent need for ecosystem-based management through integrated marine spatial planning across international borders [5]–[6]. Integrating the distribution of species into the distribution of potentially harmful activities, while obvious, is not easy. Spatio-temporal information on human behaviour can be sensitive, such as the use of natural resources (e.g. fisheries) or national security issues (e.g. military exercises), and is rarely provided due to economic value and perception.

Nevertheless, spatial overlap analyses are valuable tools not only for considering risks, but also for assessing planned or implemented management actions [123]–[125]. Quantitative information on the nature and frequency of species interactions with certain human activities is needed (e.g. bycatch, ship attacks, involvement in marine debris, disturbance), but it must work both ways, and as biologists we need to share our data to advance conservation. Oceanographers set a commendable example by freely distributing their data to masses (e.g. SST, primary productivity, altimetry). A: Getting UN support for the Decade of the Oceans is absolutely fantastic. The confirmation not only draws attention to the questions we are trying to answer with MegaMove – a better understanding of what these animals are doing globally, as well as the threats and impacts of our own activities in the ocean – but also shows how important it is for the marine movement ecological community to come together to address these challenges. And then, of course, it`s a decade, so MegaMove has now become a 10-year project. Graphical summaries of strandings composition (pie chart), effortless trends (by country, time series duration indicated by dotted lines along the x-axis), and status (main bar chart) and cause (rightmost bar chart) for sea turtles (top) and whales (bottom). The use of maximum entropy modeling has proven useful not only in identifying important areas, but also in elucidating the species-environment relationships that shaped the spatial models in the data. While it`s not surprising that species-specific data has produced more accurate models, using species communities or guilds can be a practical option if the goal is not to learn more about the ecologies of specific species, but to encompass habitats or traits that benefit a larger community. In this study, the use of seasonal models was convincing due to the migratory nature of marine predators and periodicity in the biotic and abiotic environment.

It is precisely these properties that have raised concerns about the effectiveness of ocean zoning [56]. Nevertheless, marine reserves are considered the best tool for ecosystem-based marine protection and management [57] also for pelagic species [58]–[59]. Species with protected critical habitat are twice as likely to experience population recovery [60], but for long-lived marine species whose history depends on high adult survival, large reserves are needed to generate an effective population response [61]. In European waters, the Natura 2000 initiative aims to establish a network of protected areas to conserve marine biodiversity. Although the concept is still under development, dynamic marine reserves could provide desirable flexibility in the timing and location of protected areas, which can improve reserve performance [62] and take into account the volatile oceanographic characteristics that group species [63]. We produced 36 niche models of single or clustered species over the course of a season. With the exception of one case, models showed acceptable to exceptional habitat discrimination [47] with AUC values ranging from 0.69 to 0.92. For the purposes of this article, we present the results of selected examples to demonstrate the power of maximum entropy modeling on a variety of megafauna. McLean, D., Taylor, M., Ospina, A.G., and Partridge, J. (2019a).

An assessment of fish and sea growth associated with an oil and gas platform envelope with an extended remotely operated vehicle. Continent. Shelves Res. 179, 66-84. doi: 10.1016 / j.csr.2019.04.006 MegaMove, a 2020 project by Pew Marine Fellow Ana M.M. Sequeira, seeks to fill this picture by bringing together an international network of researchers to share data and improve understanding of marine megafauna movements, habitat uses, and threats. Because of its potential to guide evidence-based conservation, MegaMove was recently supported by the United Nations as a project within the framework of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Scale issues need to be studied in order to shed light on species-environment relationships [116]. For example, temporal dynamics can determine species distribution patterns with respect to episodic phenomena (i.e., meteorological factors, short-lived fronts), daily cycles (i.e., diurnal tides, vertical migrations), seasonal events (i.e., seasonal events (i.e., temporal dynamics), plankton blooms, stratification, mixing and convergence of water masses), and decennial cycles (i.e., North Atlantic Oscillation). Long-term local ecological research is well represented for short-lived plankton [33], but ironically, long-lived marine vertebrate studies are generally short-lived. Currently, strandings datasets and public observations are the only source of continuous, long-term information on marine megafauna in the region. In order to understand changes in the distribution of top predator species, long time series are essential [117]–[118].

The study described was conducted as a meta-analysis of archived observations of marine megafauna in European waters. Each of the previous individual research programmes has been carried out under EU regulations on the exploitation of wild marine megafauna and stranded for scientific and conservation purposes in the UK and France. No permits were required to observe wild marine megafauna. However, stranded animals found by several organizations at sea and along European coasts were not used biological samples for this study. The collection of stranded animals is delegated to regional or national organizations with the permission of various institutions. In the UK, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for the removal of stranded animals for autopsy. In France, this authority was moved by the Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecology. Spatial distribution of strandings of sea turtle (A) and whale (B) families in spring (A), summer (B), autumn (C) and winter (D). Our vision is to live in a world where marine life and humans thrive together.

See what steps we are taking to achieve this. With your help, we can save the giants of the seas from extinction. While it is clear from this study that the English Channel and the southern bay of the North Sea are now home to many species of marine megafauna, a review of previous species reports suggests that there have been notable changes over time – although baselines are missing in most situations. The presence of white-beaked dolphins [77], [82], porpoises [102]–[104], basking sharks [84], Balearic shearwaters [67] and minke whales [82], [105] appears to have increased in frequency in our data, reflecting either increases/recoveries or expansions/re-expansions in the region; However, it could also indicate an increased effort by observers.