We are pleased to announce that the following paper is now available online:
Enrico Pirotta, Leslie New and Marianne Marcoux (2018). Modelling beluga
habitat use and baseline exposure to shipping traffic to design effective
protection against prospective industrialization in the Canadian Arctic.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.
1. Global warming is predicted to reduce sea ice and thereby grant access to
new shipping routes in the Arctic, leading to the expansion of human
exploitation of natural resources in this region. The accompanying rise in boat
numbers could impact the local populations of marine mammals by increasing
collision rates and behavioural disturbance. It is therefore important to
quantify the baseline exposure to current levels of shipping traffic and to
understand how wildlife's important habitat overlaps with shipping lanes, in
order to support appropriate spatial planning and management.
2. In this study, telemetry tracks from nine belugas (Delphinapterus leucas)
tagged in Western Hudson Bay, which is home to the world's largest summer
aggregation of this species, were used to estimate the habitat use of the
animals and to map any overlap with current shipping activities.
3. Following a use–availability design, with spatially adaptive smooths fitted
using generalized estimating equations, beluga habitat use was quantified,
confirming that they aggregate in coastal areas in association with river
estuaries. The baseline exposure is low, and is concentrated around major
harbours in the region.
4. Rising levels of traffic will increase anthropogenic pressure on Western
Hudson Bay belugas. The approach presented here informs the design of effective
spatial protection measures to minimize any potential consequence on the
A read-only version of the paper can be accessed from here:
A PDF copy of the paper can be downloaded from:
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any question regarding our work.
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