Opportunistic marine mammal sightings near Pemba, Mozambique

Olivier Massart

Dataset credit

Olivier Massart


Primary contact Olivier Massart
Data entry Connie Kot Duke University



Approximately 130+ observations of marine mammals species were recorded, along with the date, time, approximate weather condition, sea condition, and approximate distance and azimuth from an observation point onshore (point of regular observation: 12° 57' 53"S - 40° 31' 51" E). To increase accuracy of observation locations, I went to sea and took waypoints of where I observed the dolphins and whales. I then mapped these points on the nautical map of the region (new 2010 version - WGS 84). The original estimated distances were overestimated by far and the azimuth I was measuring was not that precise. Therefore, when I transformed the distance and azimuth of my observations I took these parameters into consideration and corrected them. The azimuths measured are accurate at 2 degrees. I estimate that the coordinates have a precision of about 0.1 to 0.2 minutes.

In addition, direct observations while swimming 11 times (for one hour each time) next to them allowed closer observations. Observations were also made to identify 163 species of fish (on coral reef mainly) and geographic coordinates were recorded while regular diving and snorkeling within that zone.


Opportunistic observations were conducted on shore mainly from a terrace (about 10 to 12 m above sea level). All observations have been within a radius of less than 3 nautical miles from the point of observation on shore (binoculars 10x - 30x). For the observations that have not been from that reference observation spot, I recomputed the azimuth from the reference.

There were three species observed, mainly Tursiops aduncus, which seems to be a resident in the area. What I observed was that the animals were cruising always in the same area, day after day. Day after day, I could also recognize that it is the same group as one of the individuals has a dorsal fin cut! Group numbers are rough estimates.

Supplemental information

Group estimates were provided as a range or a minimum estimated number of animals; observed counts used were the median of the range (rounded down) or minimum number (when the minimum number of animals was recorded instead of a range) to be conservative.




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.
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Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
recidRecord ID
date_timeDate and time of observation
obs_dateObserved date
obs_timeObserved time
sp_obsSpecies observed
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
groupestGroup estimate number
obs_countObserved count (estimate)
azimuthAzimuth from observation point
distanceDistance from observation point
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
seastateSea state description
weatherWeather description
areaArea of observation
commentsComments of observation
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals202
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2009-09-22
Date, End2011-08-29
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude-12.99 - -12.92
Longitude40.49 - 40.66
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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