SEFSC GoMex Oceanic 1999

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

Hubard, C. W. & Mullin, K. D., NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center


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



A spring cetacean survey in the northern U.S. Gulf of Mexico was conducted in 1999 by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center and Minerals Management Service to examine cetacean abundances in both oceanic and continental shelf waters.
This survey was conducted in coordination with the spring Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) ichthyoplankton survey.

The dataset contains sightings of not only cetaceans but also other species including sea turtles, fish and shark observed during the ship survey.

During the 36 survey days, at least 18 species were sighted, including

Bryde's whale
Sperm whale
Dwarf/pygmy sperm whale
Cuvier's beaked whale
Striped dolphin
Spinner dolphin
Clymene dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Atlantic spotted dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin
Rough-toothed dolphin
Risso's dolphin
Killer whale
False killer whale
Pilot whale
Pygmy killer 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 ichthyoplankton samples for estimates of the abundance and distribution of Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae.

2. Collect data to estimate the abundance and distribution of cetaceans in the oceanic northern Gulf of Mexico.

3. collect associated environmental data at all designated ichthyoplankton stations.

4. Collect data on the distribution of sea turtles, seabirds and other marine life.

5. Obtain biopsy samples of skin and blubber from selected cetacean species for genetic stock structure and contaminant analyses.

6. Obtain photographs of selected cetacean species for photo-identification studies.

7. Collect data on distribution and type of marine debris encountered during the survey.

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)
Caspian Tern: Sterna caspia (176924) => Hydroprogne caspia (176935)
Laughing Gull: Larus atricilla (176837) => Leucophaeus atricilla (824079)
Sandwich Tern: Sterna sandvicensis (176927) => Thalasseus sandvicensis (176932)
Sooty Tern: Sterna fuscata (176894) => Onychoprion fuscatus (824105)


NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 1999. Report of a Cetacean Survey of Oceanic Waters of the Northern Gulf of Mexico aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II (Cruise 234).



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 sighting
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 mammals217
Sea turtles4
Rays and sharks5
Other species500
Non spatial0
Non species31
Date, Begin1999-04-23
Date, End1999-06-01
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude24.31 - 29.49
Longitude-96.02 - -83.48
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 30)
Traveled (km)4,612
Effort hours287
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC0 no rights reserved
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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