Sizing Ocean Giants

Craig McClain, Department of Biology, Duke University

Dataset credit

OBIS and SWP OBIS

Contacts

RoleNameOrganization 
Primary contact Craig McClain Department of Biology, Duke University N/A
Secondary contact Kevin Mackay NIWA N/A

Citation

McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm R, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Data from: Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Southwestern Pacific OBIS, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand, 4563 records, Online http://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource.do?r=sizinggiants released on February 1, 2017.
Mcclain, C. 2020. Sizing Ocean Giants. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/103152423) on yyyy-mm-dd and originated from OBIS (https://obis.org/dataset/4a058eda-7edc-400b-a5a2-49dc8c193412)

Abstract

What are the greatest sizes that the largest marine megafauna obtain? This is a simple question with a difficult and complex answer. Many of the largest-sized species occur in the world’s oceans. For many of these, rarity, remoteness, and quite simply the logistics of measuring these giants has made obtaining accurate size measurements difficult. Inaccurate reports of maximum sizes run rampant through the scientific literature and popular media. Moreover, how intraspecific variation in the body sizes of these animals relates to sex, population structure, the environment, and interactions with humans remains underappreciated. Here, we review and analyze body size for 25 ocean giants ranging across the animal kingdom. For each taxon we document body size for the largest known marine species of several clades. We also analyze intraspecific variation and identify the largest known individuals for each species. Where data allows, we analyze spatial and temporal intraspecific size variation. We also provide allometric scaling equations between different size measurements as resources to other researchers. In some cases, the lack of data prevents us from fully examining these topics and instead we specifically highlight these deficiencies and the barriers that exist for data collection. Overall, we found considerable variability in intraspecific size distributions from strongly left- to strongly right-skewed. We provide several allometric equations that allow for estimation of total lengths and weights from more easily obtained measurements. In several cases, we also quantify considerable geographic variation and decreases in size likely attributed to humans.

Purpose

N/A

Supplemental information

This dataset was downloaded from OBIS (https://obis.org/). The records for only marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles and rays and sharks were extracted. Records with no longitude/latitude or no date (eventDate) were excluded.
OBIS dataset page:
https://obis.org/dataset/4a058eda-7edc-400b-a5a2-49dc8c193412
Data Provider's dataset page:
https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=sizinggiants

References

McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm R, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Data from: Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Southwestern Pacific OBIS, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand, 4563 records, Online http://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource.do?r=sizinggiants released on February 1, 2017.

Attributes

Overview

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 described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidInternal ID
idRecord ID
dataset_idDataset ID
scientificnameScientific name
vernacularnameVernacular name
aphiaidAphia ID
taxonranktaxononic rank
individualcountGroup size / individual count
eventdateEvent date (precision varies)
eventtimeEvent time
decimallatitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
decimallongitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
coordinateprecisionCoordinate precision
catalognumberCatalog number
collectioncodeCollection code
occurrencestatusOccurrence status
basisofrecordBasis of record (HumanObservation / MachineObservation)
modifiedDate/time the record was modified
node_idNode ID
occurrenceidOccurrence ID
occurrenceremarksOccurrence remarks
eventidEvent ID
institutioncodeInstitution code
lifestageLife stage
sexGender of the animal if known
speciesSpecies by provider
datasetidDataset ID by provider
countryCountry
localityLocation of ocean
waterbodyDetails of ocean
droppedFlag indicating the record was dropped (always false)
absenceFlag indicating the record represents the absence of the species (always false)
marineFlag indicating the record is for marine life (always true)
OBIS-SEAMAP ID103152423
Seabirds0
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles571
Rays and sharks147
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Total718
Date, Begin1856-01-01
Date, End2013-05-26
Temporal prec.100000
Latitude-55.75 - 58.05
Longitude-113.58 - 123.87
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
PlatformVarious
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortN/A
Traveled (km)0
0
Contr. throughiOBIS
Registered2020-06-30
Updated2021-02-05
StatusPublished
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Also available in None
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics