UNCW Right Whale Aerial Surveys 2008

University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Dataset credit

William A. McLellan, University of North Carolina Wilmington


Primary contact William McLellan University of North Carolina Wilmington
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



These surveys were designed to monitor North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the south Atlantic Bight and mid-Atlantic, from the North Carolina (NC)-South Carolina (SC) border, north across the Chesapeake Bay mouth, to the southern tip of Cape Charles, Virginia, United States. The contract period began in January 2008 with surveys flown from February to June 2008.
A total of 14 North Atlantic right whales were observed during this aerial survey period, with 12 of the 14 whales sighted between the SC-NC border to Cape Hatteras, NC. Two of the 14 right whales observed were just north of Cape Hatteras, NC. In addition to right whales, two other endangered large whale species were observed. Two humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in two separate sightings during early March, and 20 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in 12 separate sightings were observed during these aerial surveys. Unidentified beaked whales (Family Ziphiidae), short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and unidentified delphinids (Family Delphinidae) were also observed during the aerial survey period. An unconfirmed beaked whale was observed in early February, and a confirmed beaked whale (species ID is still being debated) was observed in mid-June, both offshore near Cape Hatteras, NC. The threatened loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta (1,455 individuals in 937 sightings), the endangered leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea (4 individuals in 4 sightings), and unidentified sea turtles (615 individuals in 187 sightings) were also observed in this study.



Supplemental information

[UPDATE] Group size for a sighting (Row ID: 748, 04/11/08 12:29:00, Loggerhead) was corrected to 6.




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.
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
iddefinition not provided
dateDate of observation
latitudeLatitude of observation
timeThe original data did not record seconds
wayptWaypoint #
longitudeLongitude of observation
eventEvent ID
trackTrack #
obsrvObserver #
bssBaufort sea state
cloudCloud cover
glare_lGlare left
glare_rGlare right
cueSighting cue
speciesSpecies observed
commonCommon name
tsnITIS Taxonomic Serial Number
scientificScientific name
group_OBIS-SEAMAP defined taxa group
rankTaxonomic rank
reliabilityReliability of the species identification
obs_minMin #
obs_maxMax #
obs_countBest Est; OBIS-SEAMAP uses this field as # of animals
calvesCalves Y/N
avoidAvoid Y/N
pho_vidPho/Vid (Y/N)
geomdefinition not provided
oidUnique ID number (generated by SEAMAP)
datetime_iniInitial date/time if this record is a follow-up of the already sighted animals
latitude_iniInitial latitude if this record is a follow-up of the already sighted animals
longitude_iniInitial longitude if this record is a follow-up of the already sighted animals
Marine mammals565
Sea turtles1,128
Rays and sharks271
Other species47
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2008-02-02
Date, End2008-06-14
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude33.40 - 37.07
Longitude-78.35 - -74.86
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 465)
Traveled (km)28,487
Effort hours197
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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