Greater Shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine

USFWS, Linda Welch

Dataset credit

Data provider
Greater Shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine
Originating data center
Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)


Primary contact Linda Welch Greater Shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine
Data entry Michael Coyne



The Gulf of Maine supports a tremendous diversity of pelagic seabirds, which depend on our highly productive waters to raise their young and complete their annual lifecycle. For species such as Atlantic puffin and razorbills, the Gulf of Maine represents the southern limit of their breeding distribution in the United States. As with any species at the fringe of their distribution, these birds are likely to be highly sensitive to changes in habitat and prey availability resulting from global climate change. Greater shearwaters breed in the southern hemisphere and migrate to the Gulf of Maine during the summer months to forage on the abundant supply of prey species. Managers are concerned that increasing sea surface temperatures, changes in commercial harvest rates of key forage species, and potential offshore energy development could now threaten the ability of this region to support pelagic seabirds.
Maine’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy identifies greater shearwater as a priority species for research, and specifically notes the need to conduct shearwater surveys and identify foraging habitat. We believe this research will promote the conservation of this priority species during offshore energy development and increase our understanding of the potential implications of climate change on pelagic seabirds.

1) Determine foraging “hotspots†where pelagic seabirds aggregate in the Gulf of Maine
2) Determine migration pathways, habitat use, and residency times for greater shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine
3) Document characteristics of marine habitat occupied by pelagic seabirds, and predict how environmental change (i.e. climate change or offshore development) may influence the availability of these habitats
4) Contribute to ongoing research monitoring the migration of greater shearwaters throughout the Atlantic Ocean, and their return to their breeding grounds in the southern hemisphere.

This study will combine direct observations of pelagic seabirds and associated ocean parameters (i.e. sea surface temperatures, depth, and primary productivity) with data generated by the satellite transmitters. This will allow us to determine which habitat characteristics pelagic seabirds are selecting, and the satellite data will provide landscape level use of the Gulf of Maine by pelagic seabirds.

This information will play a critical role in the evaluation of offshore energy development for both conservation agencies and potential developers. While the conservation community is clearly supportive of green energy, we believe it is imperative that wildlife conservation must be considered during the planning and development of these projects. This research will help us guide the energy development into regions of the coast that are less likely to support large concentrations of pelagic seabirds.

The shearwaters in this study were named for islands protected by Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. For more information please contact:



Supplemental information

Visit STAT's project page for additional information.




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
prognumProgram number
tag_idPTT ID
lcLocation class
iqQuality indicator
dir1Dir 1
nb_mesNumber of messages received
big_nb_mesdefinition not provided
best_levelBest signal strength in dB
pass_durationPass duration in seconds
nopcNumber Of Plausibility Checks successful (from 0-4)
calcul_freqCalculated frequency
altitudeAltitude used for location calculation
speciesSpecies name
project_idSTAT Project ID
lc_filterParameters to location filtering
speed_filterParameters to speed filtering
distance_filterParameters to distance filtering
topo_filterParameters to topo filtering
time_filterParameters to time filtering
angle_filterParameters to angle filtering
life_stageLife stage of the animal
genderGender of the animal
wetdryWet or dry
wetdry_filterParameters to Wet or dry filterint
obs_datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
timezone_hTime difference from UTC
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2012-08-21
Date, End2013-01-12
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude-48.54 - 46.97
Longitude-68.72 - 17.34
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 700)
Traveled (km)152,881
Travel hours19,908
Contr. throughSatellite Tracking and Analysis Tool
Sharing policy Permission required
Shared with SWOT
GBIF (via DOI)*
* Aggregated summary
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics