The Duke Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory leads an ongoing collaboration of federal, state, academic, and independent research organizations who pool scientific data and expertise to develop marine mammal species density models spanning the U.S. east coast and southeast Canada. The models estimate absolute density, rendered as maps of the number of individual animals per 100 square kilometers, by statistically correlating sightings reported on shipboard and aerial surveys with oceanographic conditions. Since its initial publication in 2016, the project has expanded to utilize over 2.7 million linear kilometers of survey effort collected between 1992-2019, yielding density maps for over 30 species and multi-species guilds. This page lists the latest available models and provides links to download their GIS files and documentation and explore them in an interactive online mapper. Many models were updated in 2017 or 2018 using newly available data. The next comprehensive revision that will update all models is scheduled for spring of 2022, in coordination with the U.S. Navy’s next major environmental planning cycle for the region. The model for North Atlantic right whale has been updated more frequently, most recently in early 2021, in response to NOAA’s needs. To learn more about individual models and their updates, please review the documentation included in the download links and feel free to contact us with questions (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
These files are © 2015-2021 by the Duke University Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If you use them in a scientific publication or technical report, we kindly request that you cite our 2016 journal publication and the relevant follow-on reports.
To download all models in a single zip file, click here (1.1 GB).
|Modeled Taxon||Scientific Name||Version||Released||Links|
|Atlantic spotted dolphin||Stenella frontalis||8||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Atlantic white-sided dolphin||Lagenorhynchus acutus||3||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Blue whale||Balaenoptera musculus||1.3||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Bryde's whale||Balaenoptera edeni||1.3||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Clymene dolphin||Stenella clymene||2||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Common bottlenose dolphin||Tursiops truncatus||5||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Cuvier's beaked whale||Ziphius cavirostris||6||2017-08-10||Download, Mapper, History|
|Dwarf and pygmy sperm whales||Kogia spp.||4||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|False killer whale||Pseudorca crassidens||1.2||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Fin whale||Balaenoptera physalus||11||2018-04-22||Download, Mapper, History|
|Fraser's dolphin||Lagenodelphis hosei||1.2||2015-10-05||Download, Mapper, History|
|Harbor porpoise||Phocoena phocoena||4||2017-06-01||Download, Mapper, History|
|Humpback whale||Megaptera novaeangliae||10||2017-06-01||Download, Mapper, History|
|Killer whale||Orcinus orca||1.2||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Melon-headed whale||Peponocephala electra||1.2||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Mesoplodont beaked whales||Mesoplodon spp.||6||2017-08-10||Download, Mapper, History|
|Minke whale||Balaenoptera acutorostrata||9||2017-06-01||Download, Mapper, History|
|North Atlantic right whale||Eubalaena glacialis||11||2021-02-27||Download, Mapper, History|
|Northern bottlenose whale||Hyperoodon ampullatus||1.2||2015-09-26||Download, Mapper, History|
|Pantropical spotted dolphin||Stenella attenuata||3||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Pilot whales||Globicephala spp.||6||2017-08-08||Download, Mapper, History|
|Risso's dolphin||Grampus griseus||4||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Rough-toothed dolphin||Steno bredanensis||2||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Seals||Phocidae spp.||4||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Sei whale||Balaenoptera borealis||8||2018-04-22||Download, Mapper, History|
|Short-beaked common dolphin||Delphinus delphis||4||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Sperm whale||Physeter macrocephalus||7||2017-06-01||Download, Mapper, History|
|Spinner dolphin||Stenella longirostris||1.1||2015-05-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Striped dolphin||Stenella coeruleoalba||4||2018-04-14||Download, Mapper, History|
|Unidentified beaked whales||Ziphiidae spp.||6||2017-08-10||Download, Mapper, History|
|White-beaked dolphin||Lagenorhynchus albirostris||2.2||2015-10-06||Download, Mapper, History|
These models have been retired and replaced by more recent models listed above. They are retained here for reference purposes.
|Modeled Taxon||Scientific Name||Version||Released||Links|
|Beaked whales||Mesoplodon spp. and Ziphius cavirostris||4.4||2016-03-09||Download, Mapper, History|
The "Beaked whales" model is retired and no longer recommended for use. It was succeeded by three newer models: "Cuvier's beaked whale", "Mesoplodont beaked whales", and "Unidentified beaked whales". Following "Beaked whales" version 4.4 and its publication in Roberts et al. (2016), NOAA NEFSC and SEFSC contributed the AMAPPS surveys for use in updated models. In those surveys, NOAA undertook a concerted effort to boost the taxonomic precision of beaked whale sightings relative to prior surveys. Separately, the University of North Carolina, Wilmington team revisited all beaked whale sightings they collected since 2010 to try to fully identify them from photographs taken of each sighted group. These efforts collectively resulted in a large increase in sightings identified to the genus or species level, relative to unidentified sightings, as compared to sightings reported by the surveys used in version 4.4. This allowed us to split the "Beaked whales" guild modeled by version 4.4 into the three successor models that had higher taxonomic resolution.
Conflict of Interest Statement
As acknowledged in our 2016 publication, U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command is one of the principal funders of this modeling project. For the 2016 publication, the Navy was given the opportunity to suggest spatial, temporal, and taxonomical resolutions and a geographic extent that would facilitate the Navy’s use of the results in U.S. environmental regulatory processes. When the analysis was complete, the Navy was given opportunity to view preliminary results. Neither the Navy nor any other funder participated in the analysis of the data or the preparation of the manuscript. Since that publication, the Navy has continued to fund updates to the models under a similar arrangement