SEUS Right Whale EWS Aerial Surveys 2017-18

Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Dataset credit

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute
Funding for surveys provided by: NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources


Primary contact Timothy Gowan Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Secondary contact Barb Zoodsma NOAA Southeast Regional Office
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Right whale Early Warning System (EWS) aerial surveys are conducted during winter in the southeastern United States (SEUS). Surveys in this dataset began in 2016/2017 and were flown by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI, formerly Sea to Shore Alliance). FWC surveys were conducted in a Cessna 337 Skymaster aircraft with 2 observers (1 of which was also the data recorder); CMARI surveys were typically conducted in a NOAA Twin Otter aircraft with 2 observers plus 1 dedicated data recorder. Target altitude was 1,000 ft, and target speed was 100 kts.
Only large whales, large sharks, and leatherback turtles were consistently recorded by both teams. Manatees, ocean sunfish, and manta rays were consistently recorded by FWC. All other species were recorded opportunistically. Surveys broke track to obtain exact locations for large whales; locations for other species typically represent the location along the survey transect.



Supplemental information

Survey data are split into three seasons (2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19). This is the 2017/18 season. The 2016/17 season is available at
The 2018/19 season is available at

Effort data are provided. The Trackline field (used to distinguish effort on a predetermined transect from verification surveys and transits) was recorded by observers during surveys.

Additional information on species identification and taxonomic resolution may be available in the Notes and Photos fields.




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.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
objectidObject ID
ddsourceSurvey team
fileidSurvey team and date code
eventnoEvent number
sdateSurvey date
time_gmtTime (GMT): HHMMSS
time_localLocal time: HHMMSS added by OBIS-SEAMAP
latLatitude in decimal degrees
longLongitude in decimal degrees
legtypeSurvey type code
legstageSurvey watch code
tracklineTransect, transit, or verification code
sightnoSighting reference number
speccodeSpecies code
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
idrelReliability of species identification
numberGroup size
confidncReliability of group size
numcalfNumber of calves observed
anheadAnimal heading code
photosPhotographs taken
behav1Behavior code
behav2Behavior code
behav3Behavior code
behav4Behavior code
behav5Behavior code
behav6Behavior code
behav7Behavior code
behav8Behavior code
behav9Behavior code
behav10Behavior code
behav11Behavior code
behav12Behavior code
behav13Behavior code
behav14Behavior code
behav15Behavior code
notes_orgNotes during survey
commentsNotes after survey
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals70
Sea turtles835
Rays and sharks65
Other species352
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2017-12-01
Date, End2018-03-27
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude28.84 - 37.41
Longitude-83.54 - -74.03
Coord. prec.5 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 1993)
Traveled (km)95,973
Effort hours536
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics