The present proposal builds upon work under a current E5 grant (Impact of marine mammals on NE Atlantic Fisheries) held by the applicant. It has two main components:
(1) to expand the sampling base for studies on diets of small cetaceans and seals in the NE Atlantic: extending the geographical coverage of work on small cetaceans to other European countries, and improving seasonal and regional coverage of sampling in the United Kingdom, Spain and Holland. (2) analysis and modelling using the database of dietary information, alongside data on prey distribution and abundance. Computer simulations will be used to establish confidence limits for diet composition and food consumption, enabling tests to be made of hypotheses about the ecological niches, interspecific competition, and the impact of marine mammals on fisheries. Sensitivity analyses will be carried out for diet and impact models, and simple dynamic models of marine mammal-fishery interactions will be constructed.