Towards a Standardized Approach of Cetacean Habitat: Past Achievements and Future Directions


The understanding of what habitat means for an organism as well as the underlying factors driving patterns of habitat use is still unknown for many species. Cetacean habitat has been described using a range of methodologies and variables measured over various temporal and spatial scales that are often author-dependent. However, in order to develop an objective and sound understanding of what habitat actually means for cetaceans, a standardized approach needs to be developed. Here, after briefly reviewing the fundamental differences between terrestrial and marine habitats, we highlight the difficulty in defining a marine habitat, with a special focus on marine mammals. We subsequently provide six recommendations by which future cetacean habitat studies might be approached. This recommended approach aims to amend the way in which we think about and undertake investigations into cetacean habitat. It is believed that through this broadened approach, future cetacean habitat studies will increase our understanding of underlying driving factors of cetacean habitat, rather than just describing distribution patterns. Finally, it is stressed how the proposed approach will be more directly applicable within management frameworks and of benefit to conservation initiatives.

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Cribb, N. , Miller, C. and Seuront, L. (2015) Towards a Standardized Approach of Cetacean Habitat: Past Achievements and Future Directions. Open Journal of Marine Science, 5, 335-357. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2015.53028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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