INTERVIEW – Cédric Cotté is in charge of monitoring marine top predators during the BioSWOT-Med campaign. Here he explains how mesoscale features structure the foraging of marine top predators by generating favorable areas where preys are aggregated.
THE RESEARCH THEMES – Cédric Cotté is a researcher of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle at the lab LOCEAN. His research interests focus on the ecology of mid-trophic organisms (crustaceans, fish and gelatinous organisms) and how the physical environment structure the prey-predators interactions with marine top predators(seabirds, marine mammals).
What marine predators do you expect to find south of the Balearic Islands and how do you study them?
We expected to meet cetaceans (whales and dolphins), seabirds, tuna, turtles. During the BioSWOT-Med cruise, we will use the visual observations to study them. Other studies are using the biologging, i.e. electronic device fitted on animals to track their trajectory and behaviour. Passive acoustic can also be used to detect acoustically active species
Why is it important to study them? Are some of these species endangered? and if yes, are there any measures to protect them?
The monitoring of population is important to study the possible trends. Some species are threaten at different levels by shipping strike (large whales), bycatch (dolphins and turtles) and pollution (e.g., noise increase), and climate change. Marine reserve and Marine protected areas could be a good tool according the behaviour and the life cycle of these predators.
What existing hypotheses are there to explain the distribution and abundance of these species in the Mediterranean Sea?
At mesoscale, the eddies and frontal features are structuring the foraging of top predators by generating favourable areas aggregating the preys. Measuring fine scale features from space and from the cruise and observing predators is a unique opportunity to validate this hypothesis during BioSWOT-Med.
Contact: Tosca Ballerini (firstname.lastname@example.org)