The aim of this project is to develop a species distribution model (SDM) for common dolphins which takes into account dynamic environmental factors such as sea surface temperature, salinity and chlorophyll. SDMs take occurrence or abundance data about certain species and extrapolate this data in space and time using a statistical model. In the case of common dolphins, data from specially dedicated boat surveys is used. This model could bring us insights into the spatial distribution of the common dolphins and thus help us identify areas where their habitat overlaps with human activities. This knowledge could set up the base for a new protected area.
Current work has focused on writing Python scripts which automate the download of environmental data from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service website, as well as automating the processing of spatial data and the visualization of the results in R.