Basin-scale distribution of harbour porpoises in the Baltic Sea provides basis for effective conservation actions

Ida Carlén , Len Thomas , Julia Carlström , Mats Amundin , Jonas Teilmann , Nick Tregenza , Jakob Tougaard , Jens C. Koblitz , Signe Sveegaard , Daniel Wennerberg , Olli Loisa , Michael Dähne , Katharina Brundiers , Monika Kosecka , Line Anker Kyhn , Cinthia Tiberi Ljungqvist , Iwona Pawliczka Vel Pawlik , Radomił Koza , Bartłomiej Arciszewski , Anders Galatius , Martin Jabbusch , Jussi Laaksonlaita , Jussi Niemi , Sami Lyytinen , Anja Gallus , Harald Benke , Penina Blankett , Krzysztof Skóra , Alejandro Acevedo-Gutiérrez


Knowledge on spatial and seasonal distribution of species is crucial when designing protected areas and implementing management actions. The Baltic Proper harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) population is critically endangered, and its distribution is virtually unknown. Here, we used passive acoustic monitoring and species distribution models to describe the spatial and seasonal distribution of harbour porpoises in the Baltic Proper. Porpoise click detectors were deployed over a systematic grid of 297 stations in eight countries from April 2011 through July 2013. Generalized additive models were used to describe the monthly probability of detecting porpoise clicks as a function of spatially-referenced covariates and time. During the reproductive season, two main areas of high probability of porpoise detection were identified. One of those areas, situated on and around the offshore banks in the Baltic Proper, is clearly separated from the known distribution range of the Belt Sea population during breeding season, suggesting this is an important breeding ground for the Baltic Proper population. We commend the designation of this area as a marine protected area and recommend Baltic Sea countries to also protect areas in the southern Baltic Sea and the Hanö Bight where additional important harbour porpoise habitats were identified. Further conservation measures should be carried out based on analyses of overlap between harbour porpoise distribution and potentially harmful anthropogenic activities. Our study shows that large-scale systematic monitoring using novel techniques can give important insights on the distribution of low-density populations, and that international cooperation is pivotal when studying transnationally migratory species.
Author Ida Carlén
Ida Carlén,,
, Len Thomas
Len Thomas,,
, Julia Carlström
Julia Carlström,,
, Mats Amundin
Mats Amundin,,
, Jonas Teilmann
Jonas Teilmann,,
, Nick Tregenza
Nick Tregenza,,
, Jakob Tougaard
Jakob Tougaard,,
, Jens C. Koblitz
Jens C. Koblitz,,
, Signe Sveegaard
Signe Sveegaard,,
, Daniel Wennerberg
Daniel Wennerberg,,
et al.`
Journal seriesBiological Conservation, ISSN 0006-3207, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.55
Keywords in Englishspatial distribution, passive acoustic monitoring, population structure, harbour porpoise, marine protected areas, biodiversity conservation
ASJC Classification1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; 2309 Nature and Landscape Conservation
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)40
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 40.0, 28-01-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.836; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 4.451 (2) - 2018=5.163 (5)
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