Dolphin in Kaikōura
Credit: Jen Milius
27 Apr

Webinar: Cetacean conservation planning: dealing with uncertainty & data gaps

In this webinar, Fabrice Stephenson (NIWA) presented a tool that can be used to visualise cetacean diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. This research is from the Communicating risk and uncertainty project.

Aotearoa New Zealand is recognised as a globally important hotspot for marine mammals. In fact, 53% of the world’s cetacean species (whales and dolphins) use our waters!

However, rare and endangered cetacean species are often difficult to account for because of data gaps. This lack of information and uncertainty can lead to difficulties during conservation planning when incomplete information is available

The project team will present visualisations of cetacean hotspots with varying levels of uncertainty. This visualisation identifies the best locations for protection and can help to incorporate uncertainty for marine spatial planning and/or decision-makers for marine or resource consent applications. It can also be used as a framework for incorporating uncertainty when dealing with multiple species. This provides a robust and efficient step towards better decision-making for conservation management in a participatory process.

Fabrice also presented this research at the 5th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity last year.
View the poster.

This webinar was hosted online via Zoom. The recording is available here:


Who is it for?

This webinar is free and open to anyone, but will be of particular interest to DOC and MPI marine spatial planners, conservation planners, resource managers, and for NGOs, community groups, local iwi, hapū or whānau.

Will it be recorded?

Yes, our webinars are recorded and made available online.

About the speaker

Fabrice Stephenson currently works at the Centre for Coasts and Oceans, NIWA and is project co-leader of our Communicating risk and uncertainty project. He is a quantitative marine ecologist with interests in modelling spatial patterns of biodiversity for conservation and marine spatial planning. Some of his most recent work includes: modelling distributions of demersal fish assemblages; working with stakeholder groups through participatory processes for the implementation of ecosystem-based management in a joint New Zealand-Australia process; collaborating with interdisciplinary scientists to provide information on social-ecological systems.

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