Gomex Sperm Whale Survey 2000

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Dataset credit

NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center


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



Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale Survey was conducted by NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center in June-July 2000. The survey consisted of several techniques including acoustic recording tag, visual survey, photo-ID, DNA sampling, behavioral observation and fecal sampling. This data set is the result of the visual survey.

In total, 30 sightings of sperm whale were recorded in a 30 day survey period.


As an endangered species, sperm whale is protected under Marine Mammal Protection Act. As such, the biological data on sperm whale is required to produce stock assessment reports.

This survey was the pilot study to test and refine a wide range of sperm whale research techniques in Gulf of Mexico. The survey will contribute to answering the following research questions.

1. What are the effects of anthropogenic noise on the distribution, behavior and vocalization patterns of sperm whales?

2. What is the stock status of sperm whales that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico compared to the adjacent Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea?

3. Will surveys using both acoustic array methods and visual surveys improve the NMFS's abundance estimates of sperm whales in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico?

4. Is the group composition and social structure of sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico similar or different compared to sperm whales in other parts of the world?

5. How do sperm whales spatially use the Gulf of Mexico? Are there specific feeding, breeding, socializing and resting areas?

Supplemental information

[2020-09-30] The following invalid species names were corrected according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Bridled Tern: Sterna anaethetus (176897) => Onychoprion anaethetus (824104)
Caspian Tern: Sterna caspia (176924) => Hydroprogne caspia (176935)
Laughing Gull: Larus atricilla (176837) => Leucophaeus atricilla (824079)
Royal Tern: Sterna maxima (176922) => Thalasseus maximus (824142)
Sooty Tern: Sterna fuscata (176894) => Onychoprion fuscatus (824105)


Roden, C. L. and Mullin, K. D. 2000. Application of sperm whale research techniques in the northern Gulf of Mexico - a pilot study. Report of NOAA ship Gordon Gunter cruise 009. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center.



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
linenodefinition not provided
carddefinition not provided
cruisenodefinition not provided
datedefinition not provided
timedefinition not provided
latitudedefinition not provided
longitudedefinition not provided
species_codedefinition not provided
species_tsndefinition not provided
species_commondefinition not provided
species_scientificdefinition not provided
herdsizedefinition not provided
calvesdefinition not provided
geomdefinition not provided
oiddefinition not provided
Marine mammals95
Sea turtles2
Rays and sharks0
Other species43
Non spatial0
Non species19
Date, Begin2000-06-28
Date, End2000-07-26
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude27.69 - 29.44
Longitude-89.89 - -86.67
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 97)
Traveled (km)1,199
Effort hours124
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