Integrative Modeling

In the five years following the DWH oil spill, researchers developed population models to estimate how the negative effects of oil on cetacean survival, reproduction, and health affected stock trajectories. They estimated that some stocks would take decades to recover from the oil spill, without any kind of active restoration efforts.

Co-PI: Len Thomas (CREEM)

Key Collaborators: Lance Garrison, Keith Mullin, Patricia Rosel (NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center), Cormac Booth (SMRU Consulting Inc.), Lori Schwacke (NMMF) and Tiago Marques (CREEM).

CARMMHA’s goal is to use the best-available new data– whether from our thematic and field projects, other GOMRI projects, or the scientific community as a whole– to update those population models and refine the trajectory predictions. We will also improve the measures of uncertainty for each trajectory. More specifically, we will:

    • Integrate information relevant to health, demography, abundance, and environmental stochasticity from prior studies, including GoMRI and NRDA efforts, with new information from the CARMMHA field and thematic projects.
    • Conduct a formal expert elicitation, modeled after recently developed approaches that examine the population-level consequences of acoustic disturbance on cetaceans, to estimate recovery timeline for survival and reproductive rates.
  • Synthesize new data and information on abundance trends that are emerging from the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS) to inform model predictions.


Progress Summary


September 5th, 2019 -We are preparing for upcoming expert elicitation (EE) workshops, assessing potential updates to our population models, and evaluating new products for oil exposure across space and time since the spill. Experts have been selected and invited to attend EE workshops which will be held in January 2020. Population models which incorporate data from all the CARMMHA projects will be developed following the workshops.