The demand for predictive distribution models for marine species has grown dramatically in recent years for the purposes of conservation and marine spatial planning. The aim of this report is to summarise the environmental predictor variables regularly used in distribution models for marine megafauna species around the UK. It also identifies the variables that are most frequently retained in the final models, and which ones are removed during model selection. This report summarises the results for different marine taxa (seabirds, cetaceans, seals, basking sharks, and turtles).
In addition to providing a breakdown of the environmental variables used in species distribution models, this report outlines the modelling techniques typically used.
Some degree of caution should be taken when interpreting the analysis in this report as the ability to detect the effects of environmental variables is likely influenced by the modelling approaches taken and by the amount of species occurrence data available. Nevertheless, this report highlights a wide range of variables that can be targeted in future modelling studies of marine megafauna species with some degree of confidence based on the extent of their successful use to date.