The DenMod project
Density surface models (sometimes called spatial or habitat models) attempt to describe animal distribution as a function of spatially referenced variables. Data typically come from line transect surveys, although there is the potential to use other effort-indexed surveys, such as passive acoustics. Outputs include modeled relationships between density and explanatory variables, spatial maps of population density, and estimates of population size with uncertainty in areas of interest within the larger modeled region. Outputs are of practical use in, for example, spatial planning and impact assessment.
The DenMod project is focused on coordinating a working group of scientists who work in density surface modeling to address the varied approaches and coordinate advances on using the models. These experts are working to develop and implement innovative approaches to improve spatial modeling methods to characterize seasonal abundance and distribution of marine species, particularly in U.S. Navy training and testing areas.