SEFSC Gomex Shelf 1998

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

Keith D. Mullin, Katherine S. Maze, & Carrie W. Hubard, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center


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



A continental shelf cetacean survey in northern Gulf of Mexico was conducted in 1998 by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center and Minerals Management Service 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 6 survey days, 42 cetacean groups were sighted, including

Atlantic spotted dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin
Pilot 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 abundance and define distribution of cetacean species in continental shelf waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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

3. Collect ichthyoplankton samples with bongo and neuston gear for Gulf-wide estimates of abundance, frequency of occurrence, and distribution of larval and small juvenile king and Spanish mackerel, red drum, snappers, and other taxa.

4. Collect associated environmental data at designated stations in order to define cetacean habitats.

Supplemental information

[2020-09-30] The following invalid species names were corrected according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Caspian Tern: Sterna caspia (176924) => Hydroprogne caspia (176935)
Laughing Gull: Larus atricilla (176837) => Leucophaeus atricilla (824079)
Royal Tern: Sterna maxima (176922) => Thalasseus maximus (824142)
Sandwich Tern: Sterna sandvicensis (176927) => Thalasseus sandvicensis (176932)


NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 1998. Report of a Cetacean Survey of Continental Shelf Waters of the Northern Gulf of Mexico aboard NOAA Ship GORDON GUNTER (Cruise 001).



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 mammals42
Sea turtles2
Rays and sharks1
Other species26
Non spatial0
Non species21
Date, Begin1998-09-07
Date, End1998-09-24
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude25.99 - 30.19
Longitude-97.01 - -86.50
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 32)
Traveled (km)720
Effort hours39
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC0 no rights reserved
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics