dataset : Atlantic Offshore Seabird Dataset Catalog

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Atlantic Offshore Seabird Dataset Catalog

Several bureaus within the Department of Interior compiled available information from seabird observation datasets from the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf into a single database, with the goal of conducting research and informing coastal and offshore planning activities. The cooperators were the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Environmental Studies Program (, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Division of Migratory Bird Management ( and the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center ( The resulting product is the Atlantic Offshore Seabird Dataset Catalog, which characterizes the survey effort and bird observations that have been collected across space and time. Currently, the database contains ~60 datasets from 1906-2009 with over 260,000 records of seabird observations. Data will initially be provided as summary web mapping services, with web feature services (for downloading and looking at single-species data) at the linkage given elsewhere in this document. USAGE: Seabirds provide unique challenges even when using estimation techniques to sample populations (e.g., Tasker et al. 1984, Spear et al. 1992). To date, there has been little consistency among survey designs. Surveys have varied by the type of vessel from which they are conducted (ship, plane), the methodology that counts are made, the width of the area being counted, and equipment used, among many other differences. Under such circumstances, comparing results and making inferences can be difficult. Because these estimates of effort-adjusted counts do not account for detection probability, they are likely biased by factors that affect this parameter such as weather, survey method, observer, or other environmental variables (MacKenzie et al. 2006). Such results may be considered naïve in that they do not account for factors that can affect the ability to detect an animal. Furthermore, these results contain data collected over a 30 year period without regard for any long term temporal changes that may have occurred with species or the environment. Further analysis is necessary to determine if such changes have occurred with any species. While it is possible to separate data collected recently from historical (>20 years old) datasets, the amount of recent data is limited and therefore maps showing only these data may be limited spatially. Finally, effort calculations do not account for survey width, while normally static during a survey, can be reduced during certain conditions and does vary by survey method, especially boat vs. plan surveys. The vast majority of survey data collected offshore U.S. Atlantic waters were collected using similar techniques and so effort data will not be greatly affected by such discrepancies. Still, such differences do exist and were not accounted for; therefore, this estimate of survey effort is a rough surrogate for effort. Consequently, the effort-adjusted counts will also be affected by differences in survey methodology and should be considered only roughly offset by effort.

The spatial range for this dataset is 23.3786° to 64.9086° latitude, and -99.8626° to -51.935° longitude. map (center)

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