CalCOFI and NMFS Seabird and Marine Mammal Observation Data, 1987-2006
PRBO Conservation Science
The projects were conducted under the grants awarded to the following organizations and their scientists.
The principle investigators of the CalCOFI part of this dataset are (in the chronological order from 1987 to 2006): Richard Veit and John McGowan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1987-1994) David Hyrenbach, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1994-2000) Bill Sydeman, PRBO Conservation Science (2000-2006)
The principle investigators of the Rockfish part of this dataset is Bill Sydeman, PRBO Conservation Science (1996-2006)
# the affiliations are the ones they belonged to at the time of the surveys.
The data were contributed by PRBO Conservation Science. These two projects are on going. See [Supplemental information] for the information on the PIs and organizations in recent years.
This dataset contains observation data of marine birds and mammals from California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) from 1987-2006 and Rockfish cruises along the California coast from 1996-2006 by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Data were collected aboard research vessels using standardized marine bird and mammal survey techniques (Tasker et al. 1984, Buckland et al. 1993). Marine birds and mammals were observed in a 90-degree arc from the bow to one side of the ship out to 300m. Counts are summarized by species and behavior along the transects in 3 km bins. Data span years 1987 - 2006.
Relating changing ocean productivity patterns and upper-trophic predator (seabirds and marine mammals) distributions to the underlying physical oceanographic variability enhances our understanding of the ecological context of the CalCOFI and NMFS database, thereby aiding in the interpretation of large-scale hydrographic and ocean productivity patterns. An inter-disciplinary, ecosystem-level perspective will provide new insight into offshore California wildlife habitat associations and how apex marine organisms (including fish with diets similar to seabirds and/or mammals) respond to differences in ocean climate, productivity, and water mass properties, information needed to manage fisheries and wildlife under changing ocean conditions.
[2020-09-30] The following invalid species names were corrected according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Black-footed Albatross: Diomedea nigripes (174516) => Phoebastria nigripes (554379) Bonaparte's Gull: Larus philadelphia (176839) => Chroicocephalus philadelphia (824040) Caspian Tern: Sterna caspia (176924) => Hydroprogne caspia (176935) Elegant Tern: Sterna elegans (176925) => Thalasseus elegans (176931) Franklin's Gull: Larus pipixcan (176838) => Leucophaeus pipixcan (824082) Great Egret: Casmerodius albus (174810) => Ardea alba (554135) Laughing Gull: Larus atricilla (176837) => Leucophaeus atricilla (824079) Laysan Albatross: Diomedea immutabilis (174517) => Phoebastria immutabilis (554378) Least Tern: Sterna antillarum (176923) => Sternula antillarum (824127) Red Phalarope: Phalaropus fulicaria (554376) => Phalaropus fulicarius (176734) Royal Tern: Sterna maxima (176922) => Thalasseus maximus (824142) South Polar Skua: Catharacta maccormicki (176801) => Stercorarius maccormicki (660062) Willet: Catoptrophorus semipalmatus (176638) => Tringa semipalmata (824147) Parula americana (178868) => Setophaga americana (950033) Dendroica petechia T(178878) => Setophaga petechia (950039) Dendroica townsendi (178897) => Setophaga townsendi (950058) Dendroica occidentalis (178902) => Setophaga occidentalis (950059) Dendroica coronata (178891) => Setophaga coronata (950046) Wilsonia pusilla (178973) => Cardellina pusilla (950080)
[UPDATE 2013-03-25] The following species codes had been associated with invalid species names. These were corrected to valid species names. WWSC White-Winged Scoter => Melanitta fusca deglandi STAL Short-Tailed Albatross => Phoebastria albatrus LAAL Laysan Albatross => Diomedea immutabilis LETU Leatherback Turtle => Dermochelys coriacea These data are publicly available without restriction. However, it is suggested that potential users contact the data contributor (Marine Division Director at PRBO Conservation Science, firstname.lastname@example.org) or PI Bill Sydeman (email@example.com) for questions concerning the use of dataset (methods, accuracy, help with interpretation etc.).
The CalCOFI and Rockfish projects are on going. The Principle Investigators of these projects are as follows (listed those in recent years only):
Rockfish survey 2008, Leg 1/2: Bill Sydeman, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research 2008, Leg 3: Jaime Jahncke, PRBO Conservation Science 2009, Leg 1/2: Bill Sydeman, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research 2009, Leg 3: Jaime Jahncke, PRBO Conservation Science
CalCOFI survey 2006-2007: Bill Sydeman, PRBO Conservation Science 2007-current: Bill Sydeman, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research
These recent data are available from these individuals or organizations upon request. The recent data by Bill Sydeman will be also available through OBIS-SEAMAP in the near future.
Each sighting is a total of all of the birds/mammals of that species and behavior seen in an area (approx. 3 km long and 300m wide). The location is represented at the middle of the bin. Length may be less at the end of a transect, and width may be less depending on the weather. Each bin is temporally about 10 minutes in duration (depending on ship speed).
Tracklines on this map represent on-effort only. Off-effort tracks may be obtained from the data provider.
Jahncke, J. and C. Rintoul. 2006. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) cruises, 1987-2006.
Yen, P.P.W., W.J. Sydeman, S.J. Bograd, K.D. Hyrenbach. 2006. Spring-time distributions of migratory marine birds in the southern California Current: Oceanic eddy associations and coastal habitat hotspots over 17 years. Deep-Sea Research II. 53 (2006) 399–418.
Yen, P.P.W., W. J. Sydeman, K. D. Hyrenbach. 2004. Marine bird and cetacean associations with bathymetric habitats and shallow-water topographies: implications for trophic transfer and conservation. Journal of Marine Systems. 50 (2004) 79– 99.
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)
Provider assigned ID
Primary key; a concatenation of survey name + year + month + date + survey bin/transect number (bin)
Date of survey bin (MM/DD/YYYY)
Start time of survey bin
Midpoint Latitude Position of Bin (decimal degrees)
Midpoint Longitude Position of Bin (decimal degrees)
Species of seabird or mammal observation
Taxonomic Serial Number by Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Species taxonomic rank
Behavior of seabird or mammal observation
Count of observation
Bathymetric depth of survey bin (CalCOFI and NMFS only)