SEFSC Caribbean Survey 1995

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

Keith D. Mullin, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center


Primary contact Lance Garrison NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Data entry Benjamin Best Duke University



A Caribbean cetacean survey was conducted in 1995 by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center to examine the distribution and estimate abundance of cetaceans in U.S. waters, especially in the Caribbean Sea and adjacent North Atlantic. This dataset contains sightings of not only cetaceans but also other species including sea turtles, fish and shark observed during the ship survey.

During the 44 day cruise with 4,274 transect kilometers surveyed, nine cetaceans were identified, including

Humpback whale
Minke whale
Mesoplodon sp.
Pilot whale
Bottlenose dolphin
Atlantic spotted dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Striped dolphin

The dataset is accompanied by transect data which is provided as a separate file.


The purpose of this survey is to examine the distribution and estimate abundance of cetaceans in U.S. waters, especially in the Caribbean Sea and adjacent North Atlantic, which should meet the responsibility under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Specific objectives of this survey are:

1. Collect line transect data to estimate abundance and define the distributions of cetaceans in the northern Caribbean Sea and adjacent Atlantic Ocean.

2.Collect ichthyoplankton samples in an Atlantic swordfish longline fishing area and throughout the survey area.

3. Collect associated environmental data at designated stations.

4. Obtain biopsy samples of skin and blubber from selected cetacean species in U.S. waters.

5. Collect data on the distribution and abundance of seabirds and other marine life.

Supplemental information

[2020-09-30] The following invalid species names were corrected according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Bridled Tern: Sterna anaethetus (176897) => Onychoprion anaethetus (824104)
Least Tern: Sterna antillarum (176923) => Sternula antillarum (824127)
Sooty Tern: Sterna fuscata (176894) => Onychoprion fuscatus (824105)


NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 1995. Oregon II Cruise 215 (95-01).



The dataset contains information necessary to locate the species sightings observed in the survey. The structure of the dataset was defined by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Note that the dataset is a subset of the larger, complete dataset collected in the survey which includes environmental information. The columns before LineNo are applied to the shapefile only. The following information is not included in the dataset but will be found in the master data. For details, please contact NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Track; Speed; GPS Status; Observers; Wind direction; Weather; Sea state; Swell; Visibility; Turbidity; Sunlight; Water depth; Water color; Water temperature; Sighting angle; Effort status.

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
linenoLine number
cruisenoCruise No.
dateDate of the sighting
timeTime of the observation (local time)
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
trackTrack No
gpswarningGPS Warning
leftobsLeft observer
rightobsRight observer
datarcdrdefinition not provided
weatherWeather code
seastateSea state
versunposVertical sun position
radsunposRadial sun position
watercolorWater color
sightingnoSighting No.
shipidShip ID
oneffortIndicator of on or off effort
watertempWater temperature in degree Celsius
waterdepthWater depth
spcodeSpecies code defined by provider
species_tsnITIS Taxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
speciesSpecies name
scientificSpecies scientific name.
herdsizeHerd size
calvesNumber of calves
ontransectOn or off transect
cookiecttrCookie cutter
gpclassGP class
behaviorBehavior code
cuetimeCue time
cuelatCue latitude
cuelonCue longitude
obsposObserver position
obscodeObservation code
wdepthmWater depth in meters
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
Marine mammals67
Sea turtles2
Rays and sharks1
Other species644
Non spatial0
Non species44
Date, Begin1995-01-29
Date, End1995-03-08
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude16.16 - 22.71
Longitude-82.44 - -54.01
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 12)
Traveled (km)4,190
Effort hours236
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC0 no rights reserved
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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