DUML vessel-based photo-id and biopsy surveys in Onslow Bay CHPT OPAREA 2011-2015

Duke University Marine Laboratory

Dataset credit

Duke University Marine Laboratory


Primary contact Zach Swaim Duke University
Data entry Connie Kot



The United States (US) Navy proposed constructing an Undersea Warfare Training Range (USWTR) along the US Atlantic coast. One of the proposed sites within the Cherry Point (CHPT) OPAREA is an area of 1,713 km2 in Onslow Bay, 87 km from the coast of North Carolina. As part of the Navy's Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Monitoring Program, shipboard and aerial line transect surveys were implemented in 2007 to estimate density and document distribution and seasonal residency of marine mammals and sea turtles in the proposed USWTR (see "DUML vessel-based line transect surveys for proposed Onslow Bay USWTR site 2007-2010" dataset). Shipboard line-transect survey methods transitioned to biopsy and photo-identification sampling at the end of April 2011 to address questions of residency and population structure in the CHPT OPAREA. Survey effort was expended along the 200 m depth contour and occasionally around eddies and fronts generated by the Gulf Stream. We are focusing on residency and population structure with our shipboard surveys because we are:
(1) obtaining adequate data with which to estimate density from aerial line transect sampling;
(2) interested in addressing questions of residency as photo-identification data from Onslow suggest considerable residency in that area despite minimal sampling. Sightings within this dataset are from shipboard photo-ID and biopsy surveys conducted from 2011-2013.


The primary objectives of these surveys are to:
(1) document species occurrence and examine patterns of residency of marine mammals and turtles in the defined study area,
(2) determine relatedness among individuals, populations and species within the study area, and
(3) supplement the visual surveys with acoustic monitoring using a High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP).

Supplemental information

[2016-04-14] Sightings in Aug 2015 were appended. The following columns were added (these columns are blank for the sightings before Aug 2015):
end_time, end_lat, end_long, behav_state, totminest, totmaxest, mincalves, maxcalves, minyoy, maxyoy, totposid, totnoid, totfinbest, calfposid, calfnoid, calfinbest, yoyposid, comments, photo_notes, sighting_notes, observations, photo_grades, acoustics
of which totposid, totnoid, totfinbest, calfposid, calfnoid, calfinbest, yoyposid, comments, sighting_notes, observations, photo_grades are blank for Aug 2015.

[2014-03-21] The 2013 data were appended.

[2013-03-19] Additional survey data for the Onslow Bay USWTR site are available on OBIS-SEAMAP in the "DUML vessel-based line transect surveys for proposed Onslow Bay USWTR site 2007-2010" dataset.




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 number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
obs_dateDate of observation
sightnoSighting number
obs_timeTime of the observation (local time zone)
location2AFTT area location
projectProject name
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
beauscaleBeaufort sea state
bottom_depthBottom depth im meters
watertempWater Temperature (degrees Celsius)
sp_obsSpecies observed
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of animals observed
bestcalvesBest estimate of calves
bestyoyBest estimate of young of year
photosNumber of photos
end_timeEnd time (local time zone)
end_latEnd latitude in decimal degrees
end_longEnd longitude in decimal degrees
behav_stateBehavior state
totminestMinimum total group size
totmaxestMaximum total group size
mincalvesMinimum number of calves
maxcalvesMaximum number of calves
minyoyMinimum number of young of the year
maxyoyMaximum number of young of the year
totposidNot used
totnoidNot used
totfinbestNot used
calfposidNot used
calfnoidNot used
calfinbestNot used
yoyposidNot used
photo_notesNotes for the photos
sighting_notesSighting notes
photo_gradesPhoto grades
acousticsFlag to acoustic data
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals29
Sea turtles4
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2011-05-22
Date, End2015-08-18
Temporal prec.111110
Latitude33.58 - 34.43
Longitude-76.84 - -75.66
Coord. prec.5 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. throughNavy
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics