Tethys Research Institute aerial survey cetacean sightings 2009-2011

Tethys Research Institute

Dataset credit

Tethys Research Institute; Institute for Environmental Protection and Research - ISPRA


Primary contact Caterina Lanfredi Tethys Research Institute
Primary contact Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara Tethys Research Institute
Data entry Connie Kot


Lanfredi, C. and G. Notarbartolo di Sciara. 2011. Tethys Research Institute aerial survey cetacean sightings 2009-2011. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/776) on yyyy-mm-dd.


Monitoring abundance and distribution is essential in any conservation strategy, but is often ignored in many regions, including much of the Mediterranean. It is a priority of the Italian Ministry of the Environment, who funded a series of aerial surveys around Italy, to provide significant baseline information on cetaceans distribution and abundance. The covered areas included the Pelagos Sanctuary, the Central Tyrrhenian, the Corsica and Sardinia Seas, and the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Taranto. Numbers of animals within the Sanctuary are significantly higher in summer, when human activities and thus potential population level impacts are highest. A crude comparison with data from past shipboard surveys suggests an appreciable decrease in fin whale density in the Pelagos Sanctuary area over the last decade, reiterating the need for a major synoptic basinwide survey, as well as regular monitoring surveys. The low CVs and CIs reconfirm the effectiveness of aerial surveys in estimating abundance of certain cetacean species in suitable areas/circumstances and may provide a model for other areas of the Mediterranean. These surveys provide baseline data to develop efficient long-term systematic monitoring programmes, as required by a number of national and international frameworks. The collected data may also be crucial in assessing whether ship strikes, one of the main causes of death for fin whales in the Mediterranean, are affecting the Mediterranean population.



Supplemental information

Effort data are from 2009 only. When time and observed counts were not available, "00:00:00" and "1" was filled in, respectively.




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
oidUnique ID number (added by SEAMAP)
nameidDataset name
idRecord ID
databasedefinition not provided
projectdefinition not provided
obs_dateObserved date
obs_timeObserved time
latitudeLatitude of observation
longitudeLongitude of observation
sp_obsSpecies observed
obs_countObserved count
notesDetails for when time and count were not recorded (generated by SEAMAP)
sp_tsnSpecies ITIS TSN
geomdefinition not provided
Marine mammals1,142
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2009-01-12
Date, End2011-01-19
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude36.04 - 44.29
Longitude5.88 - 19.02
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 777)
Traveled (km)69,903
Effort hours135
Contr. throughACCOBAMS
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics