Modelling cetacean habitat: the merits and challenges of combining acoustic and visual observation data
My PhD focuses on the study of the distribution and habitats of all cetacean species considered as resident in the Mediterranean Sea (e.g., common bottlenose, long-finned pilot whale, sperm whales). These animals, increasingly threatened by human pressures, are challenging to study due to their extended home ranges. Cetaceans are also difficult to observe because they spend most of their time under the sea surface, which implies a significant cost for exploring their habitats. Acoustic data, collected by devices immersed in the water, can be complementary to visual data, but these approaches have rarely been combined in the same modeling exercise. The objective of my PhD, in collaboration with Marine Conservation Research, is to develop and test methodologies allowing visual and acoustic data to be combined while considering the perception and availability biases associated with the observation of cetaceans. The data will make it possible to map distribution of cetaceans to identify hotspots of diversity or density by taking account environmental parameters. Finally, interaction areas between anthropogenic pressures and cetacean distribution will be explored in order to identify areas at risk for conservation purposes.
Doctoral student in the Marine Predators team (2020-2023)
Frames : Vincent Ridoux, PELAGIS Observatory (LRU) and Oliver Boisseau (Marine Research Conservation)
Doctoral school : EUCLIDE, La Rochelle Université