Global-Local-Comparison Method: Understanding Marine Mammal Spatial Behavior by Applying Spatial Statistics and Hypothesis Testing to Passive Acoustic Data

TitleGlobal-Local-Comparison Method: Understanding Marine Mammal Spatial Behavior by Applying Spatial Statistics and Hypothesis Testing to Passive Acoustic Data
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKates Varghese, H, Lowell, K, Miksis-Olds, J
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Date PublishedOctober 1
KeywordsBefore-After Control-Impact, GLC approach, hypothesis testing, marine mammal, spatial autocorrelation, spatial change

Technological innovation in underwater acoustics has progressed research in marine mammal behavior by providing the ability to collect data on various marine mammal biological and behavioral attributes across time and space. But with this comes the need for an approach to distill the large amounts of data collected. Though disparate general statistical and modeling approaches exist, here, a holistic quantitative approach specifically motivated by the need to analyze different aspects of marine mammal behavior within a Before-After Control-Impact framework using spatial observations is introduced: the Global-Local-Comparison (GLC) approach. This approach capitalizes on the use of data sets from large-scale, hydrophone arrays and combines established spatial autocorrelation statistics of (Global) Moran’s I and (Local) Getis-Ord Gi∗ (Gi∗) with (Comparison) statistical hypothesis testing to provide a detailed understanding of array-wide, local, and order-of-magnitude changes in spatial observations. This approach was demonstrated using beaked whale foraging behavior (using foraging-specific clicks as a proxy) during acoustic exposure events as an exemplar. The demonstration revealed that the Moran’s I analysis was effective at showing whether an array-wide change in behavior had occurred, i.e., clustered to random distribution, or vice-versa. The Gi∗ analysis identified where hot or cold spots of foraging activity occurred and how those spots varied spatially from one analysis period to the next. Since neither spatial statistic could be used to directly compare the magnitude of change between analysis periods, a statistical hypothesis test, using the Kruskal-Wallis test, was used to directly compare the number of foraging events among analysis periods. When all three components of the GLC approach were used together, a comprehensive assessment of group level spatial foraging activity was obtained. This spatial approach is demonstrated on marine mammal behavior, but it can be applied to a broad range of spatial observations over a wide variety of species.

Refereed DesignationRefereed