International Journal of Applied Science and Technology

ISSN 2221-0997 (Print), 2221-1004 (Online) 10.30845/ijast

A Comparative Analysis of Cetacean Vital Rates Using Matrix Population Modeling Analysis of Cetacean Vital Rates
Kathryn E. Young, Edward O. Keith

A modeling effort has been conducted in order to determine which vital rates are most important in determining the growth and sustainability of cetacean populations. An analysis of the elasticity and sensitivity of cetacean matrix population models suggests that: 1) Most whale populations appear to be most sensitive to changes in adult female survival and least sensitive to calf survival; 2) Most whale populations appear to be secondarily sensitive to changes in juvenile survival and growth; 3) Most whale populations, with the exception of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), appear to be insensitive to changes in fecundity at any age; and 4) Adult female whales may be particularly sensitive to changes in foraging success. A risk assessment of anthropogenic impacts on cetacean populations based on the modeling conclusions would suggest that any increase in anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment which reduces adult female survival is to be avoided.

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