Understanding the Distribution of Marine Megafauna in the English Channel Region: Identifying Key Habitats for Conservation within the Busiest Seaway on Earth

Bograd, Steven J. and McClellan, Catherine M. and Brereton, Tom and Dell'Amico, Florence and Johns, David G. and Cucknell, Anna-C. and Patrick, Samantha C and Penrose, Rod and Ridoux, Vincent and Solandt, Jean-Luc and Stephan, Eric and Votier, Stephen C. and Williams, Ruth and Godley, Brendan J. (2014) Understanding the Distribution of Marine Megafauna in the English Channel Region: Identifying Key Habitats for Conservation within the Busiest Seaway on Earth. PLoS ONE, 9 (2). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

The temperate waters of the North-Eastern Atlantic have a long history of maritime resource richness and, as a result, the European Union is endeavouring to maintain regional productivity and biodiversity. At the intersection of these aims lies potential conflict, signalling the need for integrated, cross-border management approaches. This paper focuses on the marine megafauna of the region. This guild of consumers was formerly abundant, but is now depleted and protected under various national and international legislative structures. We present a meta-analysis of available megafauna datasets using presence-only distribution models to characterise suitable habitat and identify spatially-important regions within the English Channel and southern bight of the North Sea. The integration of studies from dedicated and opportunistic observer programmes in the United Kingdom and France provide a valuable perspective on the spatial and seasonal distribution of various taxonomic groups, including large pelagic fishes and sharks, marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles. The Western English Channel emerged as a hotspot of biodiversity for megafauna, while species richness was low in the Eastern English Channel. Spatial conservation planning is complicated by the highly mobile nature of marine megafauna, however they are important components of the marine environment and understanding their distribution is a first crucial step toward their inclusion into marine ecosystem management.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation of Natural Resources, Ecosystem, Fishes, Mammals, Marine Biology, methods; Models, Theoretical; Turtles
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Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Environmental Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 09:11
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 18:01
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3541

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