Cetaceans as sentinels for informing climate change policy in UK waters

Williamson, M. J., ten Doeschate, M. T.I. , Deaville, R., Brownlow, A. C. and Taylor, N. L. (2021) Cetaceans as sentinels for informing climate change policy in UK waters. Marine Policy, 131, 104634. (doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104634)

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Climate change is predicted to have profound consequences for marine ecosystems. Due to the growing political and social drive to address its impacts, monitoring and mitigating climate change is a priority in marine policy in the UK. Cetaceans have been proposed as informative sentinel species for monitoring ocean health. Here, strandings data from four UK cetacean species were assessed for their use as a tool to aid policy makers monitoring climate change in marine environments. Data on stranded cetaceans were collected from 1990 to 2018 and differences in the proportions of stranded cold water adapted and warm water adapted species assessed using Generalised Linear Models (GLM), with 6-year periods and four regions of the UK included as explanatory variables. This modelling approach showed an increase in the proportion of stranded warm water adapted species over time across the UK and that differences in proportion of strandings between cold water and warm water adapted species can be detected between regions and 6-year periods, chosen as metrics to coordinate with reporting cycles for policy assessment needs. As such, these results show the potential for utilising strandings data to identify changing oceanic trends at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales for policy reporting in the UK. However, development of these analyses with a more detailed examination of these data at a finer resolution, incorporating other data sources, such as distribution trends and dietary stable isotope data, may be required before it is applicable as an indicator for trends in changes in climate.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (Grant No. NE/L002485/1) to MW, as part of the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership and the Research Council Policy Internships Scheme for the JNCC.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:ten Doeschate, Mariel and Brownlow, Dr Andrew
Creator Roles:
ten Doeschate, M. T.I.Investigation, Data curation, Methodology, Supervision, Validation, Writing – review and editing
Brownlow, A. C.Investigation, Data curation, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Williamson, M. J., ten Doeschate, M. T.I., Deaville, R., Brownlow, A. C., and Taylor, N. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Policy
ISSN (Online):1872-9460
Published Online:10 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Crown Copyright
First Published:First published in Marine Policy 131: 104634
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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