BOEM Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) MPS sperm whale trackings 2004-2005

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

[2016-08-15] Two rows had inaccurate date/time values (1899-12-30 12:44:00 and 1899-12-30 12:46:00). These were corrected with 7/27/2004 17:44:36 and 7/27/2004 17:50:46.

[2015-03-24] 22 records had the number of animals of zero. All but the one at 2005-06-26 23:04:18 is replaced with a blank, representing species presence only. The one at 2005-06-26 23:04:18 is removed as the notes for this record mentioned as such.

This dataset includes visual tracking data of sperm whales conducted in PHOTO-ID/Mesoscale Population Study Cruises 2004 and 2005.

Sightings of other cetaceans are found in BOEM Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) MPS cetacean sightings 2004-2005

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




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)
indexIndex of rows in the original data table
gpsindexForeign key to GPS data
gpstimeGPS Time
datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
numdefinition not provided
whale_activityWhale activity
sp_obsSpecies name recorded
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of animals (adults + calves)
adultsNumber of adults
calvesNumber of calves
whaleheadingrelwhale heading
calcrangemdefinition not provided
ships_headingShip heading
linkdefinition not provided
linktrdefinition not provided
linkhpdefinition not provided
linkencdefinition not provided
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
totalwhalesTotal number of whales (in 2005 only)
intermediateNumber of intermediate size whales (in 2005 only)
medmalesNumber of med-size whales (in 2005 only)
bigmalesNumber of big-size whales (in 2005 only)
numsucfemalesNumber of suckling femal whales (in 2005 only)
numcalNumber of calves (in 2005 only)
numnocaldefinition not provided
numnoscrdefinition not provided
nflukesdefinition not provided
yesnolengthIndicate if the length of the animal was estimated (in 2005 only)
yesnobiopsyIndicate if biospy sample was taken (in 2005 only)
yesnorecsdefinition not provided
yesnophotoIndicate if photos were taken (in 2005 only)
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals1,144
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2004-06-26
Date, End2005-08-02
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude26.84 - 29.31
Longitude-93.57 - -86.11
Coord. prec.2 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 913)
Traveled (km)13,722
Effort hours1,680
Contr. through
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