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  Defining management units for cetaceans by combining genetics, morphology, acoustics and satellite tracking

Sveegaard, S., Galatius, A., Dietz, R., Kyhn, L., Koblitz, J. C., Amundin, M., et al. (2015). Defining management units for cetaceans by combining genetics, morphology, acoustics and satellite tracking. Global Ecology and Conservation, 3, 839-850. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2015.04.002.

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Sveegaard, S., Author
Galatius, A., Author
Dietz, R., Author
Kyhn, L., Author
Koblitz, Jens C.1, Author              
Amundin, M., Author
Nabe-Nielsen, J., Author
Sinding, M. H. S., Author
Andersen, L. W., Author
Teilmann, J., Author
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1German Oceanographic Museum, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Managing animal units is essential in biological conservation and requires spatial and temporal identification of such units. Since even neighbouring populations often have different conservation status and face different levels of anthropogenic pressure, detailed knowledge of population structure, seasonal range and overlap with animals from neighbouring populations is required to manage each unit separately. Previous studies on genetic structure and morphologic separation suggests three distinct populations of harbour porpoises with limited geographic overlap in the North Sea (NS), the Belt Sea (BS) and the Baltic Proper (BP) region. In this study, we aim to identify a management unit for the BS population of harbour porpoises. We use Argos satellite data and genetics from biopsies of tagged harbour porpoises as well as acoustic data from 40 passive acoustic data loggers to determine management areas with the least overlap between populations and thus the least error when abundance and population status is estimated. Discriminant analysis of the satellite tracking data from the BS and NS populations showed that the best fit of the management unit border during the summer months was an east-west line from Denmark to Sweden at latitude 56.95 degrees N. For the border between BS and BP, satellite tracking data indicate a sharp decline in population density at 13.5 degrees E, with 90% of the locations being west of this line. This was supported by the acoustic data with the average daily detection rate being 27.5 times higher west of 13.5 degrees E as compared to east of 13.5 degrees E. By using this novel multidisciplinary approach, we defined a management unit for the BS harbour porpoise population. We recommend that these boundaries are used for future monitoring efforts of this population under the EU directives. The boundaries may also be used for conservation efforts during the summer months, while seasonal movements of harbour porpoises should be considered during winter. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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 Dates: 2015-01-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: Other: WOS:000416220000071
DOI: 10.1016/j.gecco.2015.04.002
ISSN: 2351-9894
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Title: Global Ecology and Conservation
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 3 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 839 - 850 Identifier: ISSN: 2351-9894
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2351-9894