Duke Albatross 1997-1999
Duke University Marine Laboratory

Dataset credit

Duke University Marine Laboratory


Primary contact David Hyrenbach Duke University Marine Laboratory
Data entry Benjamin Best Duke University



Four female and one male black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) were tracked using satellite telemetry during their post-breeding summer dispersal (July - September, 1997-1999). The females were tracked using transmitters that operated continuously, and the male was tracked using a duty-cycled transmitter programmed to transmit on 7-day ON:OFF cycles.


Albatross movements and foraging grounds during the post-breeding dispersal are poorly understood, despite their important conservation implications. We tracked four female black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) for 100 days during their summer (July-September, 1997-1999) post-breeding dispersal off California, and compared their movements to the distribution of fishing effort from the Japanese Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) longline fishery. The tracked birds foraged largely along the transition zone between the California Current and the Central Pacific Gyre, and spent 25, 24, and 51% of their time at sea within the 200 mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the USA and Mexico, and the high seas (international waters) respectively. The satellite-tracked birds occupied subtropical waters (18-20 °C) targeted by longline fisheries for tuna (Thunnus spp.) and broad-bill swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and ranged disproportionately farther during daylight hours, when tuna fisheries operate. The available data suggest that albatrosses overlap temporally and spatially with longline fisheries in the northeast Pacific Ocean. However, this research cannot directly evaluate whether black-footed albatross bycatch occurs in these fisheries. The coarse temporal (monthly) and spatial (1°×1°) resolution of the fisheries data, and the dynamic nature of the fishing effort inhibited a fine-scale analysis of albatross overlap with longline fisheries. While we documented substantial spatial overlap between albatross distributions and the Japanese Eastern Pacific Ocean longline fishing effort during the 1980s, we found no co-occurrence during the 1990s. This study illustrates the value of satellite telemetry to assess national conservation responsibilities, and to identify potential interactions of protected species with fisheries not currently monitored by observer programs. Furthermore, our results underscore the need to exercise caution when interpreting satellite telemetry data for conservation purposes, because of the highly dynamic nature of pelagic fisheries.

Supplemental information

These telemetry data were collected through the Argos system, using Telonics ST-10 transmitters (Telonics, Mesa, AZ) programmed to operate on a 90-second repetition rate. Bench-mark tests before transmitter deployment revealed the following median positional errors (in km) for different Argos location quality classes: 1.47 (lc0), 0.77 (lc1), 0.50 (lc2), 0.30 (lc3), 1.86 (lcA), 7.26 (lcB). Class B locations reached errors of up to 50 km. After removing low-quality class B locations the dataset contained 34.81% (lc0), 24.13% (lc1), 11.97% (lc2), 5.52% (lc3), 23.57% (lcA).

For further information, please refer to the references associated with this dataset.




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.

Attributes in dataset provided

Attribute (table column)Description
speciesSpecies observed
sexing_methoddefinition not provided
sexing_citationdefinition not provided
ageing_methoddefinition not provided
ageing_citationdefinition not provided
telemetry_techniquedefinition not provided
tag_manufacturerdefinition not provided
tag_modeldefinition not provided
seriesdefinition not provided
tag_id_numberdefinition not provided
repetition_rate_(seconds)definition not provided
duty_cycledefinition not provided
investigator_namedefinition not provided
citationdefinition not provided
location_quality_classdefinition not provided
accuracy_metricdefinition not provided
location_accuracy_(km)definition not provided
yearYear of observation
monthMonth of observation
dayDay of observation
timezoneTime zone
latitudeLatitude of observation in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude of observation in decimal degrees
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin1997-07-10
Date, End1999-09-20
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude23.30 - 43.37
Longitude-156.27 - -116.26
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 85)
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
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