Subseasonal forecasts provide a powerful tool for dynamic marine mammal management

Julia E.F. Stepanuk, Hyemi Kim, Janet A. Nye, Jason J. Roberts, Pat N. Halpin, Debra L. Palka, D. Ann Pabst, William A. McLellan, Susan G. Barco, Lesley H. Thorne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Adaptive approaches are needed to effectively manage dynamic marine systems, and ecological forecasts can help managers anticipate when and where conservation issues are likely to arise in the future. The recent development of subseasonal global environmental forecasts provides an opportunity to inform management by forecasting species distributions in advance over operational timeframes. We demonstrate the utility of environmental forecasts for managing marine mammals by integrating species distribution models with subseasonal forecasts to predict the arrival of migratory humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) at foraging grounds in the Northeast US. Environmental forecasts showed high model skill at lead times of up to 2 weeks and resulting humpback whale models performed well in predicting humpback arrival. Forecasts of whale distribution can shape management efforts to minimize both impacts on whales and economic costs. Applying subseasonal forecasts to anticipate future risk presents a powerful tool for the dynamic management of marine mammals. Front Ecol Environ 2022;.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 The Authors. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Ecological Society of America.


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