NEFSC North Atlantic Marine Mammal and Turtle Aerial Abundance Survey 2007

NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)

Dataset credit

NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)


Primary contact Beth Josephson NOAA Fisheries
Secondary contact Debi Palka NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



During 30 July to 29 August 2007, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducted an abundance survey using an airplane and ship in waters from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to the Bay of Fundy, from the coast line to beyond the 2000 m depth contour. The shipboard survey (using the R/V Henry Bigelow) was concentrated in the coastal waters in the Gulf of Maine, and the aerial survey (using the NOAA Twin Otter) covered the rest of the area. The aerial results are reported in this document; while the shipboard results are reported in a companion paper. The primary objective for the aerial survey is to determine the spatial distribution and abundance of cetaceans and sea turtles in the study region. The airplane flew at 600 feet above the water surface at about 110 knots and the circle-back (Hiby) data collection methods were used, where circles were performed on groups of cetaceans and turtles that had 5 or less animals per group. There were about 8,900 km of on-effort track lines that were conducted in Beaufort 3 or less and will be used in the abundance estimates. On these track lines, there were 15 species of identifiable cetaceans, 4 turtle species detected. There were 98 circle-backs performed on 20 species/species groups that can be used to estimate g(0) for these species. The abundance estimates using these data are underway.


The primary objective is to determine the spatial distribution and abundance of cetaceans and sea turtles in the study region. The aerial survey was coordinated with a shipboard survey. Each platform covered separate regions, except for two small areas which were surveyed simultaneously by both platforms on the same day on the same track lines.

Supplemental information

Perpendicular distance to the animal is not publicly available.




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
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
cruiseCruise ID
timeTime of the sighing at local time zone
sightlatLatitude at decimal degrees
sightlonLongitude at decimal degrees
speciesSpecies code
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
groupsizeGroup size
transectTransect No.
sighting_numberSighting number
beaufortBeaufort sea state
perp_mPerpendicular distance, measured in meters
effortEffort (on/off)
qualityGeneral sighting quality as seen by the port and starboard observers, where the first number is the port observer and the second number is the starboard observer
cloudPercent cloud cover, usually rounded to 10 degrees
glare_magGlare code
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals430
Sea turtles152
Rays and sharks134
Other species477
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2007-07-31
Date, End2007-08-28
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude35.26 - 45.49
Longitude-75.90 - -64.58
Coord. prec.2 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 1892)
Traveled (km)8,529
Effort hours42
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