SEFSC Southeast Cetacean Aerial Survey 1995

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)


Primary contact Lance Garrison NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Southeast Cetacean Aerial Survey, SECAS, was conducted in 1995 by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) to estimate cetacean abundance. This data set contains sightings of cetaceans and sea turtles as well as other species, including fish and shark, observed during the aerial survey.
The full taxonomic information for this dataset can be found in the Species tab. Marine mammals and sea turtles observed were:
- Atlantic spotted dolphin
- Cuvier’s beaked whale
- Humpback whale
- Northern right whale
- Pantropical spotted dolphin
- Standard Bottlenose dolphin
- Striped dolphin

Sea Turtles:
- Green turtle
- Hardshell
- Kemp's ridley
- Leatherback
- Loggerhead

This survey's transects are available in the 'SECAS95Efforts' table/shapefile. ESRI coverage and shapefiles are available for this data set.


The purpose of this data set was to collect cetacean distribution data and allow for estimating cetacean abundance in the southeast. These abundance estimates were expected to serve as a basis for estimating Potential Biological Removals (PBR) for the species stocks in the region in support of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requirements. More specifically, the survey was to obtain an index of abundance for Tursiops truncatus so as to detect population trends by comparison with historical abundance data (SETS).

Supplemental information

Records with no common name were observations of pollution (e.g., plastic).
Records were assigned a sequential number LineNo. LineNo can be used to match observations with corresponding transects, each of which has BegLineNo and EndLineNo fields. Observation records with their LineNo between BegLineNo and EndLineNo in a transect are related to that transect.
A duplicated LineNo indicates more than one species were observed at the same time.
Records include 'off-effort' sightings as well. Card F indicates that the observation was recorded while off-effort.
When searching for a specific species, note that some records don't identify animals observed at a species level. If this is the case, the common/scientific name may be genus/family or higher (e.g., Balaenoptera sp.).
A transect may consist of several segments when the aircraft goes off effort while on the transect.
Observations associated with Transect 99 are not a part of the survey in a strict sense.




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; Airplane altitude; Weather; Sea state; Turbidity; Sunlight; Glare; 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
studyblockStudy block
partdefinition not provided
dateDate of the observation
timeTime of the observation (local time)
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
trackTrack No
gpsstatusGPS status
leftobsLeft observer
rightobsRight observer
datarcdrdefinition not provided
altitudeAltitude in feet
weatherWeather code
seastateSea state
watercolorWater color
watertempWater temperature in degree Celsius
sightobsObserver sighted
sightincdefinition not provided
speciesSpecies name
tsnITIS Taxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
commonCommon name
scientificScientific name
herdsizeGroup size
nocalvesNumber of calves
effortstatEffort status
transectnoTransect No
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
Marine mammals176
Sea turtles295
Rays and sharks59
Other species94
Non spatial0
Non species252
Date, Begin1995-01-27
Date, End1995-03-06
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude26.21 - 35.19
Longitude-81.43 - -75.48
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 77)
Traveled (km)4,933
Effort hours24
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Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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