SEFSC GoMex Oceanic 1996

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

Mullin, K. D. & Roden, C. L., NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center


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


Garrison, L. 2013. SEFSC GoMex Oceanic 1996. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP ( on yyyy-mm-dd.
NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 1996. Report of a Cetacean Survey of Oceanic and Selected Continental Shelf Waters of the Northern Gulf of Mexico aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II (Cruise 220).


The first of two spring vessel surveys of the GulfCet II Program was conducted in 1996 in oceanic and upper continental slope waters of U.S. Gulf of Mexico by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center to examine the distribution and estimate abundance of cetaceans in U.S. waters. 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 survey days, at least 16 species were sighted, including

Bryde's whale
Sperm whale
Pygmy sperm whale
Dwarf sperm whale
Cuvier's beaked whale
Striped dolphin
Spinner dolphin
Clymene dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Atlantic spotted dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin
Risso's dolphin
Killer whale
Pilot whale
Melon-headed whale

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.

Specific objectives of this survey are:

1. Collect line-transect data to estimate abundances and define the distributions of cetacean species in oceanic and selected continental shelf waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

2. Obtain biopsy samples of skin from selected cetacean species for genetic analysis in order to study the stock structure of Gulf of Mexico cetaceans.

3. collect associated environmental data at designated stations in order to define cetacean habitats.

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

5. Collect data on species identity, distribution and abundance, and stock structure of flyingfish.

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)
Laughing Gull: Larus atricilla (176837) => Leucophaeus atricilla (824079)
Least Tern: Sterna antillarum (176923) => Sternula antillarum (824127)
Royal Tern: Sterna maxima (176922) => Thalasseus maximus (824142)
Sandwich Tern: Sterna sandvicensis (176927) => Thalasseus sandvicensis (176932)
Sooty Tern: Sterna fuscata (176894) => Onychoprion fuscatus (824105)

It turned out that the records were duplicated (two completely identical data were added). The duplication was discarded on 2012-05-08.




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 observation
timeTime of the sighting (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 mammals268
Sea turtles5
Rays and sharks13
Other species1,464
Non spatial0
Non species53
Date, Begin1996-04-17
Date, End1996-06-08
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude24.28 - 30.22
Longitude-96.00 - -81.98
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 26)
Traveled (km)6,403
Effort hours345
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