TOPP Albatrosses 2002-06

Scott Shaffer

Dataset credit

Scott Shaffer, Michelle Kappes, Bill Henry, Yann Tremblay, Melinda Conners, Dan Costa, and the TOPP program


Primary contact Scott Shaffer San Jose State University
Secondary contact Dan Costa University of California, Santa Cruz
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Laysan (Phoebastria immutabilis) and black-footed (P. nigripes) albatrosses were studied using Microwave Pico-100 and Wildlife Computers SPOT 4 satellite transmitters. Birds were studied at Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, Northwest Hawaiian Islands (23.872 N, 166.272 W) from December 2002 to March 2009. The primary tracking period covers the incubation and chick-brooding phases during each year. In nearly all cases, albatrosses were equipped with a tag for a single trip to sea. Trip durations range from 1-32 days in duration and some albatrosses traveled over 15,000 km in a single trip.


The purpose of this research was to examine:
1) albatross distribution during breeding and post breeding phases,
2) characterize oceanic habitat of albatross habitat,
3) how both albatross species partition oceanic habitats,
4) commonalities in the distribution or physical features of their environment,
5) overlap and possible interaction with other TOPP organisms (e.g., elephant seals, tuna, sea turtles), and
6) highlight conservation priorities such as overlap with fisheries

Supplemental information

ARGOS points used for the dataset extent, inferred track and population of upstream OBIS archive were filtered according to McConnell et al. (1992), with a maximum velocity of 100 km/hr, or 27.8 m/s using the vmask function in the argosfilter R package (Frietas et al. 2008). This is the recommended method by the TOPP Seabird Research Team and others from the Global Procellariiform Tracking Workshop Report (Taylor 2004).
Freitas, C., C. Lydersen, M.A. Fedak, and K.M. Kovacs. 2008. A simple new algorithm to filter marine mammal Argos locations. Marine Mammal Science, 24(2): 315-325.
McConnell, B.J., C. Chambers and M.A. Fedak. 1992. Foraging ecology of southern elephant seals in relation to the bathymetry and productivity of the Southern Ocean. Antarctic Science, 4(04): 393-398.
Taylor, F. 2004. Methods. In: J.P. Croxall (ed.). Global Procellariiform Tracking Workshop Report. BirdLife International, Cambridge, p. 3.




ARGOS Latitude 1 and Longitude 1 are used for the coordinates in the SEAMAP mas.

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
pttArgos PTT ID #
obs_dateDate (GMT)
obs_timeTime (GMT)
loc_qualARGOS location quality. 1 = ARGOS Quality 3; 2 = ARGOS Quality 2; 3 = ARGOS Quality 1; 4 = ARGOS Quality 0; 5 = ARGOS Quality A; 6 = ARGOS Quality B; 7 = ARGOS Quality Z
latitudeARGOS Latitude 1
longitudeARGOS Longitude 1
lat2ARGOS Latitude 2
long2ARGOS Longitude 2
seasonSeason (two-year period encompassing the albatross breeding season) that tracking was conducted
siteBreeding colony where instruments were deployed (TERN = Tern Island, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; GUAD = Guadalupe Island, Mexico)
sppSpecies tracked (BFAL = Black-footed Albatross; LAAL = Laysan Albatross)
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number by Integrated Taxonomic Information System
statusStatus of breeding bird (INC = Incubation; BROOD = Brooding; REAR = Rearing) when instrument was deployed (the status may have changed before retrieval)
seriesUSFWS metal band # (unique individual identifier)
dtimehrsMetric from the filter
distancekmMetric from the filter
angledegMetric from the filter
speedmpsMetric from the filter
filter_keepFlag indicating if the point is good or bad based on the filter applied.
oidUnique ID number (generated by SEAMAP)
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2002-12-15
Date, End2006-03-09
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude16.55 - 57.19
Longitude146.82 - 257.63
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 478)
Traveled (km)993,809
Travel hours414,229
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS*
* Aggregated summary
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics