Type of resources
Contact for the resource
Species Distribution Models (SDM) were used to predict and identify priority areas for enhanced monitoring of cetaceans in eastern Canadian waters off Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. This data set represents information presented in Gomez et al. (2020) and includes sighting records and SDM outputs for ten cetacean species with sufficient records (n > 450) and sightings only for an additional six species. For more information about sighting records including which were included in each SDM, please see Gomez et al. 2020. This study used a compilation of aerial- and vessel-based cetacean sightings data from 1975-2015 assembled in Gomez et al. (2017) from variety of sources. Note that sightings data from many of these sources are not effort-corrected and apparent distribution patterns based on these opportunistic sightings data are biased by when and where survey activities were conducted. Unfavorable weather and reduced visual effort in winter, spring, and autumn likely account for the fewer sighting records in these seasons compared to summer. The dataset does not include dead animal, stranding, entanglement or entrapment data. While some of the databases include records obtained during the whaling period (catches or sightings recorded prior to 1975), for all analyses/modelling conducted in this study, only sightings of free-swimming whales obtained during the post-whaling period (1975-2015) were used. Quality control checks included discarding all records outside of our study area and removing redundant records (identical species, day, month, latitude and longitude).The data used do not reflect any updates or corrections to the databases that have occurred since the data were compiled in 2016. Sightings are not available for download here, please contact the original data sources listed below to obtain raw sightings data. This study represents an important initiative in eastern Canada to highlight key areas for cetacean monitoring in waters off Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. Habitats with high suitability are interpreted as areas where cetacean monitoring efforts may be prioritized, and results can help direct future survey efforts. These model outputs used cetacean sightings from several decades and dynamic environmental predictors that used seasonal averages across multiple years. As proxies for prey availability, five predictor environmental variables were selected for the SDM: ocean depth, compound topographic index, sea surface temperature, areas of persistently high chlorophyll-a concentration, and regional chlorophyll-a magnitude. See Gomez et al. (2020) for further details on modelling methods. Persistent patterns over time (between 1975-2015) are the main patterns expected to be captured by these models. Further, SDM results presented here are not the same as species density maps; rather, they portray predicted suitable habitat based on environmental characteristics and sightings data that were not always derived from effort-based surveys. Consequently, the use of these models in marine spatial planning processes should be accompanied by complimentary approaches such as acoustic and visual validation of the SDM results as well as additional monitoring and modeling efforts. Please refer to Gomez et al. (2020) for examples on how to best use these data outputs. Future efforts will focus on using more recent data and improving these models to facilitate the inclusion of cetaceans in marine spatial planning processes that are currently underway. Data sources: Fisheries and Oceans Canada Maritimes region and Newfoundland and Labrador region (Whale Sightings Database, Ocean and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Dartmouth, NS; http://www.inter.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Maritimes/SABS/popec/sara/Database, MacDonald et. al. 2017) Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS; http://www.iobis.org/), North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium (NARWC; http://www.narwc.org/) Whitehead Lab at Dalhousie University (http://whitelab.biology.dal.ca/) Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (Canadian Wildlife Service) Eastern Canada Seabirds at Sea (ECSAS) program (Gjerdrum et al. 2012). References: Gomez, C., Konrad, C.M., Vanderlaan, A., Moors-Murphy, H.B., Marotte, E., Lawson, J., Kouwenberg, A-L., Fuentes-Yaco, C., Buren, A. 2020. Identifying priority areas to enhance monitoring of cetaceans in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3370: vi + 103 p. http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40869155.pdf Gomez C, Lawson J, Kouwenberg A, Moors-Murphy H, Buren A, Fuentes-Yaco C, Marotte E, Wiersma YF, Wimmer T. 2017. Predicted distribution of whales at risk: identifying priority areas to enhance cetacean monitoring in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Endangered Species Research 32:437-458 https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v32/p437-458/ Gjerdrum, C., D.A. Fifield, and S.I. Wilhelm. 2012. Eastern Canada Seabirds at Sea (ECSAS) standardized protocol for pelagic seabird surveys from moving and stationary platforms. 31 Canadian Wildlife Service Technical Report Series No. 515. Atlantic Region. vi + 37 p. MacDonald, D., Emery, P., Themelis, D., Smedbol, R.K., Harris, L.E., and McCurdy, Q. 2017. Marine mammal and pelagic animal sightings (Whalesightings) database: a user’s guide. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3244: v + 44 p.
Kernel density estimation (KDE) utilizes spatially explicit data to model the distribution of a variable of interest. It is a simple non-parametric neighbour-based smoothing function that relies on few assumptions about the structure of the observed data. It has been used in ecology to identify hotspots, that is, areas of relatively high biomass/abundance, and in 2010 was used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to delineate significant concentrations of corals and sponges. The same approach has been used successfully in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area. Here, we update the previous analyses with the catch records from up to 5 additional years of trawl survey data from Eastern Canada, including the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. We applied kernel density estimation to create a modelled biomass surface for each of sponges, small and large gorgonian corals, and sea pens, and applied an aerial expansion method to identify significant concentrations of these taxa. We compared our results to those obtained previously and provided maps of significant concentrations as well as point data co-ordinates for catches above the threshold values used to construct the significant area polygons. The borders of the polygons can be refined using knowledge of null catches and species distribution models of species presence/absence and/or biomass.
The Coastal Oceanography and Ecosystem Research section (DFO Science) reviewed the presence of Lobster in the Population Ecology Division (DFO Science) Ecosystem Survey trawls to describe the likelihood of presence. The survey consists of a stratified random design using a bottom trawl. Lobsters are found in few trawls in the Bay of Fundy and Port Hawkesbury Area Response Plan regions, however Lobsters are landed in nearshore areas. Therefore, lobsters are described as being likely present throughout the ARP. This layer was created for consideration in oil spill response planning. A version of this dataset was created for the National Environmental Emergency Center (NEEC) following their data model and is available for download in the Resources section. Cite this data as: Lazin, G., Hamer, A.,Corrigan, S., Bower, B., and Harvey, C. Data of: Likelihood of presence of American Lobster in Area Response Planning pilot areas. Published: June 2018. Coastal Ecosystems Science Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews, N.B. https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/47bf4555-ce3c-492f-a367-a6eab1862970
Likelihood of Presence of Bottlenose Whales in the Bay of Fundy and the Port Hawkesbury Area Response Plan. The Coastal Oceanography and Ecosystem Research section (DFO Science) reviewed reported opportunistic whale sightings and local knowledge sources to estimate areas where Northern Bottlenose Whales are seasonally present and delineate these areas. A version of this dataset was created for the National Environmental Emergency Center (NEEC) following their data model and is available for download in the Resources section. Cite this data as: Lazin, G., Hamer, A.,Corrigan, S., Bower, B., and Harvey, C. Data of: Likelihood of presence of Bottlenose Whale in Area Response Planning pilot areas. Published: June 2018. Coastal Ecosystems Science Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews, N.B. https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/29dd835b-7c96-4c62-b558-275dfe13cbe9
Deep arctic sponge aggregations. This habitat can be described as a type of deep-sea sponge aggregation (sensu OSPAR 2010) occurring only in the deeper, colder water (Arctic modified, and Norwegian Sea Deep Water), where glass sponges (class Hexactinellida) are typical and other strictly deep-sea sponges are common. One of the most common species of glass sponge is the Caulophacus arcticus, which is generally found on hard sea bottoms on the lower part of the continental slope.
The Scotian Shelf population of northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) is listed as Endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Partial critical habitat was identified for this population in the Recovery Strategy first published in 2010 (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2016), and three critical habitat areas were designated along the eastern Scotian Shelf, encompassing the Gully, Shortland Canyon, and Haldimand Canyon (shapefile available online: https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/db177a8c-5d7d-49eb-8290-31e6a45d786c). However, the Recovery Strategy recognized that additional areas may constitute critical habitat for the population and recommended further studies based on acoustic and visual monitoring to assess the importance of inter-canyon areas as foraging habitat and transit corridors for northern bottlenose whales. In a subsequent study of the distribution, movements, and habitat use of northern bottlenose whales on the eastern Scotian Shelf (Stanistreet et al. in press), several sources of data were assessed and additional important habitat was identified in the inter-canyon areas located between the Gully, Shortland Canyon, and Haldimand Canyon (DFO 2020). A summary of the data inputs, analyses, and limitations is provided below. Year-round passive acoustic monitoring conducted with bottom-mounted recorders at two inter-canyon sites from 2012-2014 revealed the presence and foraging activity of northern bottlenose whales in these areas throughout much of the year, with a seasonal peak in acoustic detections during the spring. Detections from acoustic recordings collected during vessel-based surveys provided additional evidence of species occurrence in inter-canyon areas during the summer months. Photo-identification data collected in the Gully, Shortland, and Haldimand canyons between 2001 and 2017 were used to model the residency and movement patterns of northern bottlenose whales within and between the canyons, and demonstrated that individuals regularly moved between the three canyons as well as to and from outside areas. Together, these results indicated a strong degree of connectivity between the Gully, Shortland, and Haldimand canyons, and provided evidence that the inter-canyon areas function as important foraging habitat and movement corridors for Scotian Shelf northern bottlenose whales. The inter-canyon habitat area polygon was delineated using the 500 m depth contour and straight lines connecting the southeast corners of the existing critical habitat areas, but these boundaries are based on limited spatial information on the presence of northern bottlenose whales in deeper waters. More data are needed to determine whether this area fully encompasses important inter-canyon habitat, particularly in regard to the deeper southeastern boundary. Similarly, the full extent of important habitat for Scotian Shelf northern bottlenose whales remains unknown, and potential critical habitat areas outside the canyons and inter-canyon areas on the eastern Scotian Shelf have not been fully assessed. See DFO (2020) for further information. References: DFO. 2020. Assessment of the Distribution, Movements, and Habitat Use of Northern Bottlenose Whales on the Scotian Shelf to Support the Identification of Important Habitat. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2020/008. https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2020/2020_008-eng.html Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2016. Recovery Strategy for the Northern Bottlenose Whale, (Hyperoodan ampullatus), Scotian Shelf population, in Atlantic Canadian Waters [Final]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. vii + 70 pp. https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/species-risk-public-registry/recovery-strategies/northern-bottlenose-whale-scotian-shelf.html Stanistreet, J.E., Feyrer, L.J., and Moors-Murphy, H.B. In press. Distribution, movements, and habitat use of northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) on the Scotian Shelf. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. [https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2022/mpo-dfo/fs70-5/Fs70-5-2021-074-eng.pdf] Cite this data as: Stanistreet, J.E., Feyrer, L.J., and Moors-Murphy, H.B. Data of: Northern bottlenose whale important habitat in inter-canyon areas on the eastern Scotian Shelf. Published: June 2021. Ocean Ecosystems Science Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, N.S. https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/9fd7d004-970c-11eb-a2f3-1860247f53e3
Atlantic salmon postsmolts were surveyed via surface trawling during 2001 and 2003. These data were provided to the Coastal Oceanography and Ecosystem Research section of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. These data, and information from subsequent tagging studies were considered to estimate the likelihood of presence of Atlantic salmon within the Area Response Plan regions. Atlantic salmon presence varies seasonally and this spatial information should be used in conjunction with the temporal information in the attribute table. A version of this dataset was created for the National Environmental Emergency Center (NEEC) following their data model and is available for download in the Resources section. Cite this data as: Lazin, G., Hamer, A.,Corrigan, S., Bower, B., and Harvey, C. Data of: Likelihood of presence of Atlantic Salmon in Area Response Planning pilot areas. Published: June 2018. Coastal Ecosystems Science Division, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews, N.B. https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/436cdf90-9d6b-4784-938b-feec48844a67
The National Ecological Framework for Canada's "Surface Form by Ecoregion" dataset contains tables that provide surface form information for components within the ecoregion framework polygon. It provides surface form codes and their English and French-language descriptions as well as information about the percentage of the polygon that the component occupies. Surface form descriptions describe assemblages of slopes or recurring patterns of forms that occur at the earth's surface. When applied to consolidated materials (material that has been transformed to hard rock), it refers to the form produced after modification by geological processes. The mineral soil surface forms are: dissected; hummocky (irregular); inclined; level, rolling; ridged; steep; terraced; undulating. The wetland surface forms are: bog; fen; marsh; swamp.
The National Ecological Framework for Canada's "Landform by Ecoregion” series contains tables that provide regional landform information for components within the ecoregion framework polygon. It provides landform codes and their English and French-language descriptions as well as information about the percentage of the polygon that the component occupies. Regional landforms generally describe a region and include the various shapes of the land surface resulting from a variety of actions such as deposition or sedimentation (eskers, lacustrine basins), erosion (gullies, canyons), and earth crust movements (mountains). The regional landform classes are: plateau or tableland, hill and mountain, organic wetland, plain, scarp or valley.
The National Ecological Framework for Canada's "Surface Material by Ecoregion” dataset provides surface material information within the ecoregion framework polygon. It provides surface material codes and their English and French language descriptions as well as information about the percentage of the polygon that the component occupies. Surface material includes the abiotic material at the earth's surface. The materials can be: ICE and SNOW - Glacial ice and permanent snow ORGANIC SOIL - Contains more than 30% organic matter as measured by weight ROCK - Rock undifferentiated MINERAL SOIL - Predominantly mineral particles: contains less than 30% organic matter as measured by weight URBAN - Urban areas. Note that only a few major urban area polygons are included on SLC source maps, therefore, do not use for tabulating total urban coverage