Long-Distance Movement of a Sei Whale in the North Atlantic, 2005

Erik Olsen, Institute of Marine Research

Dataset credit

Erik Olsen and Leif Nøttestad, Institute of Marine Research


Primary contact Erik Olsen Institute of Marine Research
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Long-distance migration for most species of baleen whales is poorly understood because of the practical difficulties and substantial expense involved in gathering relevant data. Presently, satellite tracking is the only method that delivers the necessary detail and quantitative data on movement patterns on far-ranging marine mammals. In this study, ARGOS satellite tags were deployed on North Atlantic sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) at the Azores Islands. Data from one whale showed a cumulative 4,102 km movement from tagging at Faial Island in the Azores on 12 April 2005 via the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) to the Labrador Sea where transmissions stopped
on 7 June 2005. For a portion of the distance from CGFZ to the Labrador Sea, the whale moved in the prevailing direction of the surface current pattern.
Erratic movement in five areas along the
movement track indicates feeding behavior, particularly in the CGFZ. The results show the largescale movement potential of North Atlantic sei whales from wintering grounds to highly productive potential feeding areas in the Labrador Sea.


The purpose of this study was to track sei whales from winter grounds off the Azores to summer feeding grounds in the North Atlantic

Supplemental information

All location classes are visualized.
There is a gap from location of tagging to first transmission.




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.
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
oidUnique ID (created by OBIS-SEAMAP)
seriesAnimal ID (PTT#)
taggingIndicate the device deployment (1)
sp_obsSpecies name
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
nsNorth or south (always
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
ewEast or west (Always
classArgos location class
obs_datetimeDate and time
julian_dayJulian Day
xX (I)
yY (I)
hrs_diffHour difference
dist_nmDistance in nm
speed_knSpeed between consecutive positions in kts
speed_msSpeed between consecutive positions in m/s
cumul_distCumulative distance traveled
sp_tsnITIS Taxonomic Serial Number assigned by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countAnimal count (always 1)
Marine mammals112
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2005-04-13
Date, End2005-06-07
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude38.57 - 56.08
Longitude-55.51 - -29.14
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 889)
Traveled (km)4,032
Travel hours1,325
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS*
GBIF (via DOI)*
* Aggregated summary
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