Alnitak-Alnilam Cetaceans and sea turtles surveys off Southern Spain


Dataset credit

Ana Cañadas
Ricardo Sagarminaga
General Directorate for the Conservation of Nature, the Spanish Ministry for the Environment
LIFE-Nature programs, European Commission
Earthwatch Institute


Primary contact Ana Cañadas Alnilam
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



This dataset, belonging as a whole to Alnitak, comprises the work carried out in the Alboran Sea and adjacent areas from 1990 to 2006, and it includes 3,712 sightings of cetaceans and 306 sightings of sea turtles, during more than 31,000 nmi (more than 57,000 km) on searching effort.


Alnitak is a non-governmental non-profit association, founded in 1990 with the main aim of developing studies in cooperation with universities, environmental organizations and other institutions to increase our knowledge on the marine and coastal environment and thereby contribute to biodiversity conservation strategies. Alnitak focuses most of its research efforts into providing baseline scientific data for the adoption of management measures that should make fisheries sustainability, economic development and biodiversity conservation compatible. For this reason, Alnitak and its researchers have participated in useful and important projects such as LIFE02NAT/E/8610, SCANS II, CODA and NECESSITY. The research team of Alnitak has wide experience in research fields such as: the bioacoustics applied to Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) and Acoustic Harassement Devices (AHDs) and especially in the development of playback experiments and the cetaceans' reactions to them; the study of populations of sea turtles and in particular the monitoring of the bycatch in longline gear, data collection onboard fishing vessels, and experimental techniques on mitigation measures; and the study of cetacean populations, in particular their abundance and habitat preferences through spatial modelling, and their conservation problems. In this sense, Alnitak has been focusing during the last years in the development of Conservation Plans and the design of Marine Protected Areas, based on robust scientific data. In addition, there is a strong tradition of cooperation and synergy among the Alnitak team and the main European and other international entities with programs devoted to these issues (e.g., NOAA Fisheries, WIDECAST, SMRU, IWC, DIFRES, ACCOBAMS, EC, IEO Spain), the main stakeholders (e.g., the longline fishing fleet) and the competent authorities in Spain (Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Fisheries). Alnitak conducts research using the research vessel Toftevaag, which has been used to carry out the cetacean and sea turtle research for more than 15 years.

Supplemental information

[2016-09-20] The coordinates of two records were corrected:
Balaenoptera physalus, 2009-06-27 10:20:46
lat/long: (36.93, -5.775) => (35.93, -5.775)
Tursiops truncatus, 2007-01-14 10:08:39
lat/long: (36.516830, 2.789667) => (36.516830, -2.789667)

[2016-08-31] The 2007-2011 sightings were added.

Time is in GMT.

Several records do not have time recorded, which indicates the animal was seen far away and no contact was made.




Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
formsighting form number
speciesSpecies observed
dateDate of observation
timeTime of observation in GMT
latitudeLatitude of observation in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude of observation in decimal degrees
obs_countObserved count (best estimate)
projectFor turtle sightings, this field is empty.
remarkFor mammal sightings, this field is empty.
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals4,568
Sea turtles303
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial5
Non species3
Date, Begin1990-07-15
Date, End2011-08-29
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude35.18 - 43.98
Longitude-6.41 - 9.07
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 430)
Traveled (km)54,083
Effort hours8,588
Contr. throughACCOBAMS
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics