SEFSC Atlantic surveys 1999

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

Carol Roden, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service


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



An Atlantic Ocean ship survey was conducted by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center in 1999 to evaluate abundance, distribution and stock structure of cetaceans in southeastern U.S. Atlantic waters. Data gathered on this survey will provide abundance estimates for calculating the Potential Biological Removal for U.S. Atlantic waters as required by the 1994 amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

During the 32 survey days, at least 12 cetacean species were sighted, including

Atlantic spotted dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin
Clymene dolphin
Common dolphin
Fraser's dolphin
Melon-headed whale
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Pilot whale
Risso's dolphin
Rough-toothed dolphin
Sperm whale
Striped dolphin

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. Obtain minimum abundance estimate for calculating Potential Biological Removal for each species.

2. Collect biopsy tissue samples to evaluate stock structure.

3.Establish and build time-series databases for monitoring trends in abundance.

4. Examine distribution in relation to physiographic and oceanographic features.

5. Obtain photographs and video images of selected species for photo-identification studies.

Supplemental information

[2020-09-30] The following invalid species names were corrected according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Bridled Tern: Sterna anaethetus (176897) => Onychoprion anaethetus (824104)
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)
Sooty Tern: Sterna fuscata (176894) => Onychoprion fuscatus (824105)


Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA. 1999. Cruise Results; Summer Atlantic Ocean Marine Mammal Survey; NOAA Ship Oregon II Cruise. Cruise report. OT 99-05 (236).



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
ontransectIndicator of on 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 mammals236
Sea turtles64
Rays and sharks6
Other species221
Non spatial0
Non species179
Date, Begin1999-08-09
Date, End1999-09-25
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude28.52 - 39.16
Longitude-81.14 - -73.05
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 6)
Traveled (km)4,935
Effort hours279
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC0 no rights reserved
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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