SWFSC Marine Mammal Survey, ORCAWALE 1996, Cruise 1604

NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)

Dataset credit

NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)


Primary contact Jay Barlow NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Secondary contact Jeffrey Moore Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA
Data entry Benjamin Best Duke University



The 1996 Oregon, California and Washington Line-Transect Experiment (ORCAWALE) was designed to estimate the abundance of and to describe the distribution of dolphins, whales, and porpoises off the west coast of the United States out to 300 nautical miles. This survey was conducted by the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center aboard NOAA Ships David Starr Jordan and McArthur for a combined total of approximately 15,000
kilometers surveyed from mid July to early November 1996. This dataset provides the time-date and geographical coordinates, by species/stock, of all cetaceans detected during the survey, as well as the daily and intra-daily start and end points of the line-transect survey by the NOAA Ship McArthur.


The primary purpose of this survey was to estimate the abundance of and to describe the distribution of dolphins, whales, and porpoises off the west coast of the United States out to 300 nautical miles.

Supplemental information

[2021-04-12] Updated with additional attributes.

SWFSC MMTD Cruise Number: 1604
Perpendicular distance will be released upon permission by the contributor. Please contact the contributor if needed.

Attribute descriptions for effort data:
dist: Length of the segment (km)
Mode: Effort mode type (C = closing mode; P = passing mode)




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)
eventEvent code. S = cetacean sighting, t = sea turtle sighting, p = pinniped sighting
datetimeDate and time of sighting (local time)
latLatitude (decimal degrees) of vessel when sighting was made
lonLongitude (decimal degrees) of vessel when sighting was made
cruiseSWFSC Marine Mammal and Turtle Divison Cruise number
sightnoSighting number (within Cruise)
nspNumber of species observed in the sighting
mixedTRUE for a multi-species sighting (nSp >= 2); FALSE otherwise (nSp = 1)
spcodeSpecies code
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
gsspbestThe mean of all observers
gssphighThe mean of all observers
gssplowThe mean of all observers
perpdistkmPerpendicular distance (km) to sighting from trackline; Available upon permission.
bftBeaufort sea state, as assessed by looking upswell with the naked eye
swellhghtAverage swell height from trough to crest of typical swells (estimated in feet, by eye)
visA measure of air/atmospheric clarity only, as affected by observational conditions such as fog, rain, etc.
groupsize_sightnoRunning count ID of all cetacean groups recorded
groupsize_countNumber of observers that provided a group size estimate
groupsize_count_obsNumber of unique observer codes per sighting for S events
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals986
Sea turtles1
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species1
Date, Begin1996-07-18
Date, End1996-10-14
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude31.80 - 48.00
Longitude-130.91 - -117.30
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 220)
Traveled (km)10,051
Effort hours539
Contr. through
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