PIFSC & HIHWNMS, Cetacean Surveys, Visual and genetic surveys for odontocete cetaceans in American Samoa 2003-06

Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center & Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Dataset credit

NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
Marie Chapla Hill, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Research Corporation for the University of Hawaii

David Johnston, Duke University Marine Laboratory

David Mattila, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Jooke Robbins, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies


Primary contact Marie C. Hill NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University


Chapla, M. 2008. PIFSC & HIHWNMS, Cetacean Surveys, Visual and genetic surveys for odontocete cetaceans in American Samoa 2003-06. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/466) on yyyy-mm-dd.


Very little is known about the species composition, distribution, abundance, and stock structure of odontocete cetaceans inhabiting the United States Exclusive Economic Zone's (EEZ) waters of American Samoa. While some information on species presence in this region has been gleaned from anecdotal sightings and whaling and stranding records, the diversity of odontocete cetaceans in the waters of American Samoa has never been formally investigated.

We conducted a series of small boat photo-identification and biopsy surveys for cetaceans in the nearshore waters of Tutuila during 2003-2006. As well, ship-based visual surveys were conducted in the waters surrounding the Manu'a Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island in the summer of 2006. A total of 52 groups of odontocete cetaceans were encountered during small boat surveys, including spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris), rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.), dwarf sperm whales (Kogia sima), and unidentified odontocetes. A total of six groups of cetaceans were encountered during ship-based surveys, including false killer whales, pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), sperm whales, and unidentified odontocetes. Photographs, taken during both small boat and ship-based surveys, were analyzed for quality, and individuals with distinctive markings were selected for entry into the photo-identification catalogue. The resulting catalog includes 46 spinner dolphins, 41 rough-toothed dolphins, 2 bottlenose dolphins, 5 false killer whales, 4 pilot whales, 1 dwarf sperm whale, and 4 sperm whales. Thirteen (13) spinner dolphins and 14 rough-toothed dolphins were sighted in multiple years. For spinner dolphins, genetic data were used to estimate genetic diversity and effective population size and to compare these values with those of spinner dolphins in the Hawaiian Islands. Diversity and populations size estimates were higher in American Samoa than in Hawai'i, suggesting a larger population size at American Samoa.



Supplemental information



Johnston, D.W., J. Robbins, M.E. Chapla, D.K. Mattila, and K.R. Andrews. 2008. Diversity, habitat associations and stock structure of odontocete cetaceans in the waters of American Samoa, 2003-2006. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 10:59-66.



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
survey_idSurvey ID
sighting_noSighting #
speciesSpecies name recorded
sp_tsnITIS Taxonomic serial number
commonCommon name
photo_coveragePhoto coverage
effort_statusEffort (On/Off)
timeTime Begin (up to minutes)
time_endTime End (up to minutes)
latitudeBegin Lat
longitudeBegin Long
end_latEnd Lat
end_longEnd Long
count_minTotal Min
count_bestTotal Best; Some records have no value (n/a)
obs_countTotal Max; this is the count used in OBIS-SEAMAP
calves_minCalves Min
calves_bestCalves Best
calves_maxCalves Max
yoy_minYoung of the year Min
yoy_bestYoung of the year Best
yoy_maxYoung of the year Max
behaviorBehavior Notes
biopsy_detailsBiopsy Details
total_catalog_idTotal Catalog ID
total_no_idTotal No ID
total_fin_bestTotal Fin Best
beaufortBeaufort Scale (available only for OES 06-03_xx)
swellSwell Height (available only for OES 06-03_xx)
wind_speedWind Speed (available only for OES 06-03_xx)
notesNotes (available only for OES 06-03_xx)
geomdefinition not provided
oidUnique ID number (generated by SEAMAP)
Marine mammals59
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2003-09-18
Date, End2006-10-11
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude-14.38 - -11.09
Longitude-171.21 - -169.47
Coord. prec.5 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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