PIFSC, Cetacean Survey, WHICEAS 2020, Cruise 2001, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC)

Dataset credit

NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center


Primary contact Marie C. Hill NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University


Hill, M. 2023. PIFSC, Cetacean Survey, WHICEAS 2020, Cruise 2001, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (https://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/2238) on yyyy-mm-dd.


The Winter Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey (referred to as “Winter HICEAS”) of 2020 was a ship-board survey for cetaceans and seabirds within offshore waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). This project used many of the same methods as the previous HICEAS projects which occurred in 2002 (Barlow 2006), 2010 (Bradford et al. 2017), and 2017 (Yano et al. 2018).
The Winter HICEAS 2020 project represents the third cetacean and ecosystem assessment survey conducted as part of the Pacific Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (PacMAPPS), a partnership between NOAA Fisheries, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the U.S. Navy. PacMAPPS includes rotational ship surveys in regions of joint interest throughout the Pacific designed to estimate the abundance of cetaceans and seabirds and to assess the ecosystems supporting these species. The previous PacMAPPS surveys include the 2017 HICEAS and 2018 California Current Ecosystem Survey. The HICEAS project was a collaborative effort between the Pacific Islands and the Southwest Fisheries Science Centers (PIFSC and SWFSC) and surveyed the U.S. waters surrounding the northwestern and main Hawaiian Islands from July through December 2017, whereas the 2018 California Current Ecosystem Survey, led by the SWFSC, surveyed waters offshore from the U.S. West Coast from June through December 2018 (Henry et al. 2020).
Winter HICEAS 2020 sailed aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette (hereafter referred to as the Sette) for 51 days-at-sea. The project was conducted during 2 survey “legs”; Leg 1 sailed on 18 January to 12 February and Leg 2 sailed on 17 February to 12 March.
During 51 days-at-sea, there were 326 cetacean sightings and 53 groups of dolphins and whales that could not be identified to species



Supplemental information

[2023-09-06] Some of the sightings got their group sizes estimated incorrectly. These are fixed.

Data were collected under NMFS permit 20311.
The data included here are the sightings and on-effort tracks recorded within WinCruz survey software and extracted from the QA/QC'd DAS file using the R package swfscDAS (https://smwoodman.github.io/swfscDAS).

Attributes for fields within the trackline files:
Cruise - see description in attribute table below
segnum - segment number for continuous on-effort line
Date - Local date m/dd/yyyy
TimeStart - Local time at start of on-effort segment
LatStart - Latitude in decimal degrees at starting point of on-effort segment
LongStart - Longitude in decimal degrees at starting point of on-effort segment
TimeEnd - Local time at end of on-effort segment
LatEnd - Latitude in decimal degrees at end point of on-effort segment
LongEnd - Longitude in decimal degrees at end point of on-effort segment
Mode - see description in attribute table below
EffType - see description in attribute table below
avgSpdKt - average speed (knots) of the ship over the on-effort segment traveled
avgBft - average Beaufort Sea State over the on-effort segment

Other data not included here:
Photos and biopsy samples were collected during some sightings. Acoustic detections were recorded from a towed hydrophone array. Sonobuoys were deployed opportunistically. Drifting Acoustic Spar Buoy Recorders (DASBRs) were deployed and recovered opportunistically. A High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP) was recovered and redeployed off the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island. Oceanographic data were collected (CTD).




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)
lineLine No.
sightnoSighting No. (continuous numbers incrementing from 1)
datetimeDate and time of the sighting at local time zone
latShip Latitude in decimal degrees
lonShip Longitude in dcimal degrees
cruiseCruise No.
modeC = closing (observer team went off-effort when a cetacean group was sighted to focus on species identification, group-size estimation, or other data collection); P = passing (search effort was continuous even after a sighting was made; rare - generally occurring only when the ship was required to be somewhere at a specific time)
efftypeEffort Type: S = standard/systematic (search effort while following predetermined parallel transects); N = Non-standard/non-systematic (search effort during transit between transect lines, to & from port, or circumnavigating islands); F = fine scale (search effort within the main Hawaiian Islands focal area)
oneffortEffort status assigned in the field: TRUE = on-effort (the 3-person observer team was on the flying bridge actively searching for cetaceans); FALSE = off-effort (the observer team had suspended active searching; e.g., during another sighting or inclement weather). Depending on analysis assumptions, some on-effort sightings could be considered off-effort (e.g., made by a non-primary observer or past a specified truncation distance). For more information on additional data attributes or considerations, please contact the data provider.
nspNumber of cetacean species present during an encounter (sighting)
spcodeNumeric species code by provider
scinameScientific name
commonnameCommon name
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
gsspbestBest estimate of species group size (the arithmetic mean of all observers)
gssphighHigh estimate of species group size (the arithmetic mean of all observers)
gssplowLow estimate of species group size (the arithmetic mean of all observers)
perpdistkmPerpendicular distance (km) of the sighted group from the trackline
bftBeaufort sea state
swellhghtSwell height (height of predominant swell in feet)
visVisibility (distance in nautical miles at which a dolphin could be seen surfacing with the water (not sky) as background)
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals328
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2020-01-19
Date, End2020-03-11
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude17.71 - 23.45
Longitude-161.91 - -153.30
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 2239)
Traveled (km)5,146
Effort hours303
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