Vanderlaan Angelia S. M.

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Vanderlaan
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Angelia S. M.
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Absolute probability estimates of lethal vessel strikes to North Atlantic right whales in Roseway Basin, Scotian Shelf

2012-10 , van der Hoop, Julie , Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M. , Taggart, Christopher T.

Vessel strikes are the primary source of known mortality for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Multi-institutional efforts to reduce mortality associated with vessel strikes include vessel-routing amendments such as the International Maritime Organization voluntary “area to be avoided” (ATBA) in the Roseway Basin right whale feeding habitat on the southwestern Scotian Shelf. Though relative probabilities of lethal vessel strikes have been estimated and published, absolute probabilities remain unknown. We used a modeling approach to determine the regional effect of the ATBA, by estimating reductions in the expected number of lethal vessel strikes. This analysis differs from others in that it explicitly includes a spatiotemporal analysis of real-time transits of vessels through a population of simulated, swimming right whales. Combining automatic identification system (AIS) vessel navigation data and an observationally based whale movement model allowed us to determine the spatial and temporal intersection of vessels and whales, from which various probability estimates of lethal vessel strikes are derived. We estimate one lethal vessel strike every 0.775–2.07 years prior to ATBA implementation, consistent with and more constrained than previous estimates of every 2–16 years. Following implementation, a lethal vessel strike is expected every 41 years. When whale abundance is held constant across years, we estimate that voluntary vessel compliance with the ATBA results in an 82% reduction in the per capita rate of lethal strikes; very similar to a previously published estimate of 82% reduction in the relative risk of a lethal vessel strike. The models we developed can inform decision-making and policy design, based on their ability to provide absolute, population-corrected, time-varying estimates of lethal vessel strikes, and they are easily transported to other regions and situations.

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In plane sight: a mark-recapture analysis of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

2021-12-02 , Crowe, Leah M. , Brown, Moira W. , Corkeron, Peter , Hamilton, Philip K. , Ramp, Christian , Ratelle, Stephanie , Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M. , Cole, Tim V. N.

North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis are most commonly observed along the eastern seaboard of North America; however, their distribution and occupancy patterns have become less predictable in the last decade. This study explored the individual right whales captured photographically from both dedicated and opportunistic sources from 2015 to 2019 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL), an area previously understudied for right whale presence. A total of 187 individuals, including reproductive females, were identified from all sources over this period. In years when more substantial survey effort occurred (2017-2019), similar numbers of individuals were sighted (mean = 133, SD = 1.5), and dedicated mark-recapture aerial surveys were highly effective at capturing almost all of the whales estimated in the region (2019: N = 137, 95% CI = 135-147). A high rate of inter-annual return was observed between all 5 study years, with 95% of the animals seen in 2019 sighted previously. Capture rates indicated potential residencies as long as 5 mo, and observed behaviors included feeding and socializing. Individuals were observed in the northern and southern GSL, regions divided by a major shipping corridor. Analyses suggest that individuals mostly moved less than 9.1 km d-1, although rates of up to 79.8 km d-1 were also calculated. The GSL is currently an important habitat for 40% of this Critically Endangered species, which underscores how crucial protection measures are in this area.

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Erratum to “Vessel strikes to large whales before and after the 2008 Ship Strike Rule”

2016-06-15 , van der Hoop, Julie , Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M. , Cole, Timothy V. N. , Henry, Allison G. , Hall, Lanni , Mase-Guthrie, Blair , Wimmer, Tonya , Moore, Michael J.

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Vessel strikes to large whales before and after the 2008 Ship Strike Rule

2014-05-01 , van der Hoop, Julie , Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M. , Cole, Timothy V. N. , Henry, Allison G. , Hall, Lanni , Mase-Guthrie, Blair , Wimmer, Tonya , Moore, Michael J.

To determine effectiveness of Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs), introduced in 2008 on the U.S. East Coast to reduce lethal vessel strikes to North Atlantic right whales, we analyzed observed large whale mortality events from 1990–2012 in the geographic region of the “Ship Strike Rule” to identify changes in frequency, spatial distribution, and spatiotemporal interaction since implementation. Though not directly coincident with SMA implementation, right whale vessel-strike mortalities significantly declined from 2.0 (2000–2006) to 0.33 per year (2007–2012). Large whale vessel-strike mortalities have decreased inside active SMAs, and increased outside inactive SMAs. We detected no significant spatiotemporal interaction in the 4-year pre- or post-Rule periods, although a longer time series is needed to detect these changes. As designed, SMAs encompass only 36% of historical right whale vessel-strike mortalities, and 32% are outside managed space but within managed timeframes. We suggest increasing spatial coverage to improve the Rule's effectiveness.