BOEM Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) S-Tag sperm whale trackings 2002-2004

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Dataset credit

Texas A&M University
Oregon State University
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Texas A&M University-Galveston
University of Colorado
University of Durham
University of Saint Andrews
University of South Florida
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Primary contact Deborah Epperson Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) was a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary research project supported by the then Minerals Management Service (MMS; now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management - BOEM) under Cooperative Agreement 1435-01-02-CA-85186 for Cooperative Research on Sperm Whales and their Response to Seismic Exploration in the Gulf of Mexico through the Texas A&M Research Foundation.

The objectives of SWSS were to
(1) establish baseline information on the biology and behavior of sperm whales in the northern Gulf of Mexico,
(2) characterize sperm whale habitat use in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and
(3) determine possible changes in behavior of sperm whales when subjected to manmade noise, particularly from seismic airgun arrays used for offshore oil and gas exploration and geological monitoring.



Supplemental information

2015-11-17: Two records having a negative number of the animal count (2002-07-06 21:16:34 and 2003-07-07 15:04:46) were fixed to positive numbers.

This dataset includes sperm whale visual tracking data in 2002-2004. Sightings of other cetaceans are found in BOEM Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) S-Tag cetacean sightings 2002-2004

Since the vessels often tracked the sighted sperm whales for further surveys, many sightings in this dataset represent the same animals.

Since the 2005 data are in a different format, they are registered separately as BOEM Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) S-Tag cetacean sightings 2005

Effort data were filtered to eliminate early morning and night times where no visual efforts were conducted. The of-effort times are different in years.
2002: 06:30 - 19:30 CDT
2003 SH: 05:50 - 19:30 CDT
2003 STag: 06:30 - 20:30 CDT
2004: 07:00 – 20:00 CDT




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)
row_idRow ID assigned by OBIS-SEAMAP
indexIndex of rows in the original data table
gpsindexForeign key to GPS data
obs_datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
other_timeOther format of time
numdefinition not provided
linkdefinition not provided
reallinkdefinition not provided
regulardefinition not provided
whatWhat to track (SP: sperm whale; ST: tagges whale
whale_activityWhale activity
sp_obsSpecies code recorded
sp_tsnITIS Taxonomic Serial Number assigned by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of individuals (total of adults, juveniles and calves)
adultsNumber of adults
calvesNumber of calves
whaleheadingtrueWhale heading
calcrangemdefinition not provided
end_ships_headingShip heading at end
ships_headingShip heading
actualheadtActual heading
actualbeartActual bearing
ship_headingShip heading
bearingBearing (°)
whaleheadingrelwhale heading
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
lat_animalLatitude of animals
lon_animalLongitude of animals
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals2,069
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2002-06-23
Date, End2004-06-18
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude27.12 - 29.32
Longitude-92.67 - -86.57
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 908)
Traveled (km)4,159
Effort hours541
Contr. through
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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