New Data Products Show that Marine Mammal Stocks in North Atlantic Are Highly Vulnerable to Climate Change

In September 2023, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study found that a majority of marine mammal stocks managed under U.S. jurisdiction in the western North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea are very highly vulnerable or highly vulnerable to climate change. A “stock” is a group of organisms of the same species that occupy the same geographic area and interbreed when mature.

Map depicting the total abundance of marine mammals vulnerable to climate change.

Above: Map depicting the total abundance of marine mammals vulnerable to climate change.

In collaboration with the NOAA Fisheries staff who authored the study, the Marine-life Data & Analysis Team (MDAT) developed new data products that depict the total abundance and species richness of marine mammals in the western North Atlantic (U.S. East Coast) that are vulnerable to climate change.

The eight new data products below can be found in the Portal’s Marine Life them by clicking on the “Marine Mammals” dropdown. Lists of the species included in each of these maps can be viewed in their respective Data Catalog summaries.

These data products add to an already extensive library of marine life data products that depict the distribution, density, and biomass of marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and fish along the East Coast hosted by MDAT, developed according to recommendations provided by experts throughout the regions and visualized on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.

NOAA Fisheries conducts climate vulnerability assessments for coastal and marine habitats and species as part of its Climate Science Strategy. The latest vulnerability assessment for marine mammals was published in PLOS ONE. It provides new information on the potential outlooks for these stocks in the face of a changing climate. The Portals already house similar climate vulnerability data products for fish. You can explore Climate Vulnerability Assessment data for marine mammals and other stocks with NOAA Fisheries' new Climate Vulnerability Assessment Tool.


dolphins manasquan
A pod of dolphins off Manasquan, New Jersey.

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