Proposed Abstract Title

Environmental Factors and Ship Traffic Density Influencing Orca Habitat Preference in the Salish Sea

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

General Habitat Topics

Location

2016SSEC

Description

This study examines resident and transient killer whales in the Puget Sound, and the environmental and anthropogenic factors which may influence their behavior and habitat preferences. By utilizing georeferenced data of killer whale sightings in the Puget Sound over the last twenty years, and analyzing it in ArcGIS, it is possible to generate geospatial and temporal correlations with numerical fluctuations in the populations of dietary species, tide and current data, sea surface temperature and seismic anomalies. Changes in killer whale habitat selection over time were also compared to evolving vessel traffic activity in the Salish Sea overall. The findings of this study are designed to illuminate changes in killer whale habitat selection preference over the last two decades, and correlate these changes with physical, environmental, and anthropogenic phenomena.

Comments

Authors: Coast Guard Academy Cadets 1/c Hailey Thompson & 1/c Sheila Dutt, Monika Wieland,

LT Christopher Verlinden

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Environmental Factors and Ship Traffic Density Influencing Orca Habitat Preference in the Salish Sea

2016SSEC

This study examines resident and transient killer whales in the Puget Sound, and the environmental and anthropogenic factors which may influence their behavior and habitat preferences. By utilizing georeferenced data of killer whale sightings in the Puget Sound over the last twenty years, and analyzing it in ArcGIS, it is possible to generate geospatial and temporal correlations with numerical fluctuations in the populations of dietary species, tide and current data, sea surface temperature and seismic anomalies. Changes in killer whale habitat selection over time were also compared to evolving vessel traffic activity in the Salish Sea overall. The findings of this study are designed to illuminate changes in killer whale habitat selection preference over the last two decades, and correlate these changes with physical, environmental, and anthropogenic phenomena.