National Protected Species Toolbox Initiative
Environmental change and anthropogenic impacts are a serious conservation and management concern for protected megafauna species such as sea turtles, marine mammals, sharks, and seabirds. NOAA Fisheries is developing quantitative analytical tools that will improve protected species assessments and better analyze impacts from human activities, research and development capabilities, and address critical management concerns.
Goals and Objectives of the Toolbox:
- Produce, evaluate, and disseminate analytical products and applications to improve protected species assessments in support of regional and/or national management priorities.
- Enhance partnership and coordination among science and management offices by jointly identifying research priorities for the Toolbox Initiative.
- Investigate, understand, and predict intensity and magnitude of impacts on protected species populations from ecosystem change, human activities, and cumulative and aggregated stressors.
- Strengthen scientific excellence and capacity by recruiting and training young researchers in cutting-edge techniques and novel approaches and through inter-disciplinary collaboration and produce products and applications for scientific or management use.
Toolboxes under development include:
- Population Assessments: improve quality, transparency and national consistency in protected species population assessments and estimated population parameters
- Coral Demographics: develop spatially-explicit predictive maps for ESA-listed coral species occurrence, abundance, demographic patterns, and potential connectivity.
- Spatial Analysis: develop or enhance existing spatial tools for various taxonomic groups to generate improved protected species analytical models.
Below are presentations that convey the progress to-date on these tools.
- Integrating Diverse Data Sources to Determine Seasonal Density Distributions of Protected Species — Jay VerHoef (AFSC) & Peter Boveng (AFSC)
- Analysis & Applications to Improve Protected Species Assessments in the Greater Atlantic Region — Joshua Hatch (NEFSC) and Heather Haas (NEFSC)
- Development of Tools and Tool Documentation for Assessing Harvest Impacts on Endangered and Threatened Salmonid Stocks — Elizabeth Holmes (NWFSC), Martin Liermann (NWFSC), Susan Bishop (WCRO), Mindy Rowse (NWFSC)
- Integrating Chinook Catches from Directed Fisheries and Trawl Bycatch to Improve Distribution Information for Bycatch Avoidance and Impacts On Predators in a Changing Environment — Ole Shelton (NWFSC), Jordan Watson (AFSC), Curry Cunningham (AFSC), Eric Ward (NWFSC), Andrew Gray (AFSC), Mike Ford (NWFSC), Kayleigh Somers (NWFSC)
- Automating Bycatch Estimation from the Western Pacific Longline Fishery — Marti McCracken (NWFSC) and Annie Yau (NWFSC)
- An Interactive Machine Learning Toolkit for Classifying Species Identity of Cetacean Echolocation Signals in Passive Acoustic Recordings — Melissa S. Soldevilla (SEFSC), Lance P. Garrison (SEFSC), Danielle Cholewiak (NEFSC), Kait Frasier (SOI)
- Estimating DPS-Specific Risk for Humpback Whales in the U.S. California Current — Jeff Moore (SWFSC)
- Each thematic group is comprised of science and management teams and is individually led by two science center-based investigators.
- Coral Demographics (PIFSC, NCCOS and JIMAR), to develop spatially-explicit predictive maps for ESA-listed coral species occurrence, abundance, demographic patterns, and potential connectivity.
- Spatial Analysis (AFSC, SEFSC, SWFSC, and NWFSC), to develop or enhance existing spatial tools for various taxonomic groups (sea turtles, cetaceans, and pinnipeds) facilitating integration or effective use of different data streams (acoustics, fine-scale and broad-scale survey data, telemetry, photo-id) to generate improved protected species analytical models.
- Population Assessments (NWFSC, SWFSC, NEFSC, and SEFSC), to improve quality, transparency and national consistency in protected species population assessments and estimated population parameters (e.g. cetacean trend analysis, bycatch estimate calculation) and produce user-friendly interactive web tools to enable easy analysis and evaluation of different methods suggested above in management decision-making.
- Spatial prediction of fisheries bycatch — Brian Stock, Eric Ward and Tomo Eguchi (SWFSC/NWFSC)
- An integrative model of sea turtle growth based on recoveries and mark-recapture data —Brandon Chasco, Eric Ward and Tomo Eguchi (SWFSC/NWFSC)
- Quantitative tools to assess the impact of anthropogenic activity on sea turtle populations— Melissa Warden and Heather Haas (NEFSC)
- Advancing development of a limit reference point estimator for sea turtles, and of a local management approach for highly migratory species — Alex Curtis and Jeff Moore (SWFSC)
- A spatial risk assessment tool that connects oceanographic and demographic information to predict distribution and abundance for protected species — Paul Richards and Nathan Putnam (SEFSC)
- Crawl: An R package for modeling animal movement from satellite telemetry data — Devin Johnson (AFSC)
- Developing and deploying web-based tools to visualize marine animal movement data and explore abundance and trend of pinniped populations — Josh London (AFSC)
- Developing ocean ecosystem indicators for marine turtle juvenile recruitment — Kyle Van Houtan (PIFSC)
- Deploying protected species tools via cloud computing — Eli Holmes (NWFSC)
- eSDM: An ensemble tool for species distribution models - Karin Forney
- Cetacean Spatial Analysis: Needs and Solutions - Charlotte Boyd
- Deploying protected species tools via cloud computing: new tools and platforms - Eli Holmes
- Quantitative Tools for Assessing Threatened Coral Species in the Caribbean - Dione Swanson and Shay Viehman
- Assessing performance of common bycatch estimation methods under data-poor scenarios - Alex Curtis
- Learning to crawl: Development and Training of NMFS Scientists in Animal Movement modeling - Devin Johnson
- Integrating passive acoustic data with visual line transect surveys to refine population estimates and estimate availability bias for sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) - Doug Sigourney
Development of quantitative tools for predicting protected species and fishery co-occurrence (SWFSC and NWFSC)
- Advancing development of a limit reference point estimator for sea turtles, and evaluating methods for applying local management to highly migratory species (SWFSC)
- Development and evaluation of quantitative tools to assess the impact of anthropogenic impacts on marine turtle populations (NEFSC and SEFSC)
- Developing ocean ecosystem indicators for marine turtle juvenile recruitment (PIFSC)
- Development of quantitative and web-based tools for modeling marine animal movement and habitat use from satellite telemetry data (AFSC)
- Deploying protected species tools via cloud computing (NWFSC)
- Development of quantitative tools for assessing effects of anthropogenic mortality for marine turtle populations (SWFSC and NWFSC)