Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris G. Cuvier, 1823) is the only beaked whale species commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea. Until recently, species presence in this area was only inferred from stranding events. Dedicated cetacean surveys have increased our knowledge of the distribution of Cuvier's beaked whales, even though many areas still remain unexplored. Here, we present an updated analysis of available sighting and stranding data, focusing on the atypical mass strandings that have occurred in the Mediterranean Sea since 1963. We describe in detail the five more recent events (2006-14), highlighting their relationship with naval exercises that used mid-frequency active sonar. The distribution of the species is apparently characterized by areas of high density where animals seem to be relatively abundant, including the Alboran Sea, Ligurian Sea, Central Tyrrhenian Sea, southern Adriatic Sea and the Hellenic Trench, but other such areas may exist where little or no survey work has been conducted. Population size has been estimated for the Alboran and Ligurian seas. Habitat modelling studies for those areas, confirmed the species preference for the continental slope and its particular association with submarine canyons, as has also been found to be the case in other areas of the world. The application of results from habitat modelling to areas different from their calibration sites is proposed as a management tool for minimizing the potential impacts of human activities at sea. Military sonar is known worldwide as a threat for this species and is suggested to be a major threat for Cuvier's beaked whale in the Mediterranean Sea.

Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, Distribution and Occurrence in the Mediterranean Sea: High-Use Areas and Conservation Threats

AZZELLINO, ARIANNA;LANFREDI, CATERINA
2016

Abstract

Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris G. Cuvier, 1823) is the only beaked whale species commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea. Until recently, species presence in this area was only inferred from stranding events. Dedicated cetacean surveys have increased our knowledge of the distribution of Cuvier's beaked whales, even though many areas still remain unexplored. Here, we present an updated analysis of available sighting and stranding data, focusing on the atypical mass strandings that have occurred in the Mediterranean Sea since 1963. We describe in detail the five more recent events (2006-14), highlighting their relationship with naval exercises that used mid-frequency active sonar. The distribution of the species is apparently characterized by areas of high density where animals seem to be relatively abundant, including the Alboran Sea, Ligurian Sea, Central Tyrrhenian Sea, southern Adriatic Sea and the Hellenic Trench, but other such areas may exist where little or no survey work has been conducted. Population size has been estimated for the Alboran and Ligurian seas. Habitat modelling studies for those areas, confirmed the species preference for the continental slope and its particular association with submarine canyons, as has also been found to be the case in other areas of the world. The application of results from habitat modelling to areas different from their calibration sites is proposed as a management tool for minimizing the potential impacts of human activities at sea. Military sonar is known worldwide as a threat for this species and is suggested to be a major threat for Cuvier's beaked whale in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cuvier's beaked whale
Ecology
Threats
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1023933
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