MMS Low Altitude Survey for Seabirds, Southern California Bight 1975-1978
Minerals Management Service

Dataset credit

Minerals Management Service

Contacts

RoleNameOrganization 
Primary contact Glenn Ford
Data entry Benjamin Best Duke University

Citation

Abstract

This dataset is from the marine mammal and seabird surveys of the southern California Bight studies: Southern California Bight low aerial [birds] study code: SB, Contract Number: AA550-CT7-36, Principal investigators: K. S. Norris and B. J. Le Boeuf, University of California, Santa Cruz, and G. L. Hunt, University of California, Irvine.

Time period: May 1975 through March 1978

Study area: The Southern California Bight, from Point Conception to the United States-Mexico boundary and offshore to the 2,000 m isobath.

Methodology: Aerial and ship surveys were conducted along pre-established transects designed to systematically sample marine mammal and seabird abundance in all waters of the study area. Aerial surveys were conducted at two altitudes (200 ft and about 750-1,000 ft ASL) alternating at 2-3 week intervals. Seabirds and pinnipeds were recorded only on the low-altitude surveys which predominantly sampled along eight lines of latitude, separated by 25 nm, and connecting lines of longitude. High-altitude surveys sampled cetacean abundance along 15 Loran lines oriented northeast-southwest and separated by 12-15 nm. On low-altitude surveys, seabirds were counted only within a 50 m corridor on the shaded side of the aircraft. Marine mammals were counted in an unbounded corridor on one side of the aircraft on low-altitude surveys and both sides of the aircraft on high-altitude surveys. A clinometer or marks on the wing-strut were used to estimate the declination, and the measurement or estimate later used to calculate probability density functions of frequency with right-angle distance. Ships were used for surveys of inshore waters along standard (i.e., predetermined and replicate) transects and for search, catch, and tagging/tracking of small cetaceans. The standard ship transect cruises sampled abundance of seabirds and marine mammals over banks, basins, and ridges in waters inshore of the Patton Escarpment (the shelf break). Seabirds and marine mammals were counted on both sides of the cruise track and distance estimated or measured with a range-finder. Catch cruises attempted to find and remain with schools of common dolphin and other small cetaceans; therefore, data on sightings from these cruises cannot be used as samples of animal abundance. The Southern California Bight Study also included ground and aerial censuses of pinniped and seabird colonies, and special studies of productivity, mortality rates, and foraging range.

Databases produced:
1) sightings of seabirds and marine mammals on 24 low-altitude aerial surveys,
2) sightings of cetaceans on 35 high-altitude aerial surveys,
3) sightings of seabirds and marine mammals on 29 ship transect surveys, and
4) sightings of cetaceans on 34 catch cruises.

Included in this database are the following:
High Altitude Mammal Observations: 75,489 km of effort, 695 sightings of 68,557 individual animals
Low Altitude Mammal Observations: 37,843 km of effort, 1,320 sightings of 15,070 individual animals
Low Altitude Bird Observations: 35,445 km of effort, 7,950 sightings of 63,359 individual animals
Ship Observations: 17,903 km of effort, 23,519 sightings of 181,287 individual animals

Purpose

Objectives of the study were to characterize the marine mammal and seabird fauna of the Southern California Bight, estimate abundance of species, describe the distribution, determine the timing and routes of migrations and movements, and document seasonal changes in numbers or patterns of habitat-use. In addition, studies were conducted to determine the size and status of breeding colonies of seabirds and pinnipeds, their productivity, and trends in growth.

Supplemental information

This dataset includes Low Altitude Bird Observations (35,445 km of effort, 7,950 sightings of 63,359 individual animals) from the database described in the abstract.

Low Altitude Mammal Observations are available in MMS Low Altitude Survey for Marine Mammals, Southern California Bight 1975-1978

References

Bonnell, M. L., B. J. Le Boeuf, M. O. Pierson, D. H. Dettman, and G. D. Farrens. 1981. Pinnipeds of the southern California Bight. Part I of Investigator's Reports, Summary of Marine Mammal and Seabird Surveys of the Southern California Bight Area, 1975-1978. Final Report prepared by the University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Bureau of Land Management, Contract No. AA550-CT7-36. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia. NTIS # PB-81-248-171. 535 pp.
Briggs, K. T., E. W. Chu, D. B. Lewis, W. B. Tyler, R. L. Pitman, and G. L. Hunt. 1981. Distribution, numbers, and seasonal status of seabirds of the southern California Bight. Part III of Investigator's Reports, Summary of Marine Mammal and Seabird Surveys of the Southern California Bight Area, 1975-1978. Final Report prepared by the University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Bureau of Land Management, Contract No. AA550-CT7-36. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia. NTIS # PB-81-248-197. 470 pp.
Dohl, T. P., K. S. Norris, R. C. Guess, J. D. Bryant and M. W. Honig. 1981. Cetacea of the southern California Bight. Part II of Investigator's Reports, Summary of Marine Mammal and Seabird Surveys of the Southern California Bight Area, 1975-1978. Final Report prepared by the University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Bureau of Land Management, Contract No. AA550-CT7-36. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia. NTIS # PB81248189. 414 pp.

Attributes

Overview

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downlodable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission unless otherwise noted below.

This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes in dataset provided

Attribute (table column)Description
idID
studyStudy code
platformPlatform code
on_On (Y) or off (N) effort
effdateeffort date
date_0Date in original format
dateDate of the observation
time_0Time in original format
timeTime of the observation
speciesSpecies name
species_codeSpecies code
numberGroup size
latLatitude in decimal degrees
lonLongitude in decimal degrees
widthWidth of the transect
newbornsNumber of calves
malesNumber of males
femalesNumber of females
ageAge
sexSex
plumagePlumage
assocAssociation
directionDirection
group_Group size
behaviorBehavior code
altitudeAltitude in feet
declineDecline
distanceDistance
perpdistPerpendicular distance
reldirdefinition not provided
distcodedefinition not provided
commentComments
weatherWeather code
cloudsCloud code
windWind
seastatusSea status
glaredirGlare direction
glareGlare
seatempSea temperature (-99: not available)
recordRecord No.
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
OBIS-SEAMAP ID48
Seabirds6,290
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species1,660
Non spatial0
Non species0
Total7,950
Date, Begin1975-05-16
Date, End1978-03-18
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude32.04 - 34.47
Longitude-121.00 - -117.50
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
PlatformPlane
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortN/A
Registered2006-03-21
Updated2014-12-08
StatusPublished
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
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