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Short Citation:
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 2022: AFSC/NMML: Bowhead Whale Aerial Abundance Survey off Barrow, Alaska, Spring 2011,

Item Identification

Title: AFSC/NMML: Bowhead Whale Aerial Abundance Survey off Barrow, Alaska, Spring 2011
Short Name: AFSC/NMML: Bowhead Whale Aerial Abundance Survey off Barrow, Alaska, Spring 2011
Status: Completed
Creation Date: 2011

Aerial photographic surveys for bowhead whales were conducted near Point Barrow, Alaska, from 19 April to 6 June in 2011. Approximately 4,594 photographs containing 6,801 bowhead whale images were obtained (not accounting for resightings). The 2011 field season was very successful: we flew 36 out of 49 available days and conducted 49 flights in that time; we were grounded due to weather on 13 days. The longest period of time that we were grounded due to weather (low ceilings/fog) was three days. This occurred after the migration had slowed down, during a time when few whales passed the ice perches according to the ice-based visual survey. The 2011 migration was steady with several peaks (30 April, 4-5 May, 12 May), and then the migration rate slowed down considerably after 14 May. The photographs taken in 2011 are a significant contribution to the bowhead whale photographic catalogue. They will be used to calculate a population estimate that may be used for comparison with the 2011 ice-based estimate and will provide better precision in estimates of bowhead whale life-history parameters.


To photograph bowhead whales from the Western Arctic (Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort) stock during the annual spring migration past Barrow, Alaska in order to derive a capture-recapture abundance estimate.


Loaded by FGDC Metadata Uploader, batch 6114, 06-03-2015 14:59

The following FGDC sections are not currently supported in InPort, but were preserved and will be included in the FGDC export:

- Taxonomy (FGDC:taxonomy)


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO19115 Biota
ISO19115 Oceans
None aerial
None distribution
None photo-identification

Temporal Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None spring

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Beaufort Sea
None Chukchi Sea

Physical Location

Organization: National Marine Mammal Laboratory
City: Seattle
State/Province: WA
Country: United States

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: Table (digital)
Distribution Liability:

The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.

NOAA denies liability if the data are misused.

Data Set Credit: North Slope Borough in addition to NMFS provided funding for this project.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 227130
Date Effective From: 2011
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Mocklin, Julie
Email Address:


CC ID: 202873
Date Effective From: 2015-06-03
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): National Centers For Environmental Information (Boulder) (NCEI-Boulder)
Address: E/GC 325 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80305-3328
Phone: 303-497-6826

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 202871
Date Effective From: 2015-06-03
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): MC, Metadata Coordinators
Email Address:


CC ID: 202874
Date Effective From: 2015-06-03
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Building 4
Seattle, WA 98115
Business Hours: 0700-1700 Pacific Time

Point of Contact

CC ID: 202872
Date Effective From: 2015-06-03
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Clapham, Phillip
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 202870
W° Bound: -165
E° Bound: -148
N° Bound: 72
S° Bound: 68

Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Barrow, AK.

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 202869
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2011-04
End: 2011-06

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

Data can be accessed at

Data Access Constraints:

There are no legal restrictions on access to the data. They reside in public domain and can be freely distributed.

Data Use Constraints:

User must read and fully comprehend the metadata prior to use. Applications or inferences derived from the data should be carefully considered for accuracy. Acknowledgement

of NOAA/NMFS/AFSC, as the source from which these data were obtained in any publications and/or other representations of these, data is suggested.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 238872
Download URL:
Distributor: National Centers For Environmental Information (Boulder) (NCEI-Boulder) (2015-06-03 - Present)

Six csv files: Comments, GPS, GrpPassMark, Positions, Sightings, and Weather.

File Type: csv (comma-separated values)

Technical Environment


csv files

Data Quality

Completeness Report:

Not applicable.

Quality Control Procedures Employed:

After each survey day, data is quality controlled by checking all entered information from that day. All weather, sighting, group number, position, and comment data are checked for errors and spelling.

Data Management

Have Resources for Management of these Data Been Identified?: Yes
Approximate Percentage of Budget for these Data Devoted to Data Management: 0
Do these Data Comply with the Data Access Directive?: Yes
Is Access to the Data Limited Based on an Approved Waiver?: No
Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Dissemination: Unknown
Actual or Planned Long-Term Data Archive Location: NCEI-MD
Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Archiving: Unknown
How Will the Data Be Protected from Accidental or Malicious Modification or Deletion Prior to Receipt by the Archive?:

IT Security and Contingency Plan for the system establishes procedures and applies to the functions, operations, and resources necessary to recover and restore data as hosted in the Western Regional Support Center in Seattle, Washington, following a disruption.


Lineage Statement:

The 2011 spring aerial abundance survey was conducted jointly by the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management (NSB-DWM) and the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML). Methodology was similar to earlier studies (Koski et al. 1992; Angliss et al. 1995). Surveys were conducted in an Aero Commander 690 with bubble windows in the two forward observer positions. The aircraft flew at an average air speed of ~217km/h (117kts) and altitude of 200m (656ft), and flew directly over bowhead whales during photographic passes. Photographs were taken with a Canon Mark III-1DS digital camera affixed with a Zeiss 85mm fixed f/1.4 Planar T* lens pointed directly downward through the aircraft's ventral camera port that was covered with optical quality glass. Shutter speed was typically 1/2500th second or faster. Aircraft altitude was recorded every 2 seconds with a portable Garmin 76CSx GPS unit and saved on a laptop computer. Robogeo software was used to embed latitude, longitude and altitude into the Exif metadata of each photograph. Calibration targets of known dimensions were photographed twice during the season, at the beginning and end of the survey. These calibration photographs were taken from the same altitudes flown during survey effort. Additionally, each flight began with a photographic pass over a table of known dimensions at a set altitude of 152m (500ft) to act as a daily check of altimeter performance.

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 202878


Process Contact: Mocklin, Julie
Email Address:

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity Comments
Entity GPS
Entity GrpPassMark
Entity Positions
Entity Sightings
Entity Weather

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 17334
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:17334
Metadata Record Created By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Created: 2012-12-21 17:00+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-11-27
Owner Org: AFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-11-27
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-11-27