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Modeling the spatial and seasonal distribution of offshore recreational vessels in the southeast United States.


ABSTRACT: Understanding the distribution and intensity of recreational boating activities is key for managing safety as well as environmental and social impacts. Recreational boating is a very important component of the diverse maritime traffic in the southeastern United States. The seasonal distribution of offshore recreational vessels in waters off the coast of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia was modeled using several techniques (Poisson, negative binomial, hurdle and zero inflated modes, generalized additive models, and generalized mixed models) and by combining map-based information provided by recreational boaters with environmental and geographical variables to find the most parsimonious model. Based on model performance, the final model analysis was conducted using a GAM approach with a negative binomial distribution. The best seasonal models explained between 86.1%- 88.6% of the total deviance. For most seasons, a model that included latitude, longitude, interaction between latitude and longitude, chlorophyll a concentration, and abundance of artificial reefs resulted in the best fit. The only exception was the model for the summer season, which did not include chlorophyll a concentration. Given the complexity of the study area, with a number of maritime activities and several marine species co-occurring, these models could provide information to analyze the distribution and overlap of recreational boating trips with other maritime activities (e.g., cargo ships, commercial vessels) and species (e.g., right whales, sea turtles, sharks). These analyses could be used to decrease harmful interactions among these groups and activities.

SUBMITTER: Montes N 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6261638 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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