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Item Identification

Title: Abundance of cetatceans in the southern U.S. North Atlantic Ocean during summer 1998
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2003-04-03

The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act requires that the abundance of marine mammals in U.S. waters be assessed. Because this requirement had not been met for a large portion of the North Atlantic Ocean (U.S. waters south of Maryland), a ship-based, line-transect survey was conducted with a 68 m research ship between Maryland (38.00°N) and central Florida (28.00°N) from the 10-m isobath to the boundary of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The study area (573,000 km 2) was surveyed between 8 July and 17 August 1998. Minimum abundance estimates were based on 4163 km of effort and 217 sightings of at least 13 cetacean species and other taxonomic categories. The most commonly sighted species (number of groups) were bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus (38); sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus (29); Atlantic spotted dolphins, Stenella frontalis (28); and Risso’s dolphins, Grampus griseus (22). The most abundant species (abundance; coefficient of variation) were Atlantic spotted dolphins (14,438; 0.63); bottlenose dolphins (13,085; 0.40); pantropical spotted dolphins, S. attenuata (12,747; 0.56); striped dolphins, S. coeruleoalba (10,225; 0.91); and Risso’s dolphins (9533; 0.50). The abundance estimate for the Clymene dolphin, S. clymene (6086; 0.93), is the fi rst for the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. Sperm whales were the most abundant large whale (1181; 0.51). Abundances for other species or taxonomic categories ranged from 20 to 5109. There were an estimated 77,139 (0.23) cetaceans in the study area. Bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins were encountered primarily in continental shelf (<200 m) and continental slope waters (200-2000 m). All other species were generally sighted in oceanic waters (>200 m). The distribution of some species varied north to south. Striped dolphins, Clymene dolphins, and sperm whales were sighted primarily in the northern part of the study area; whereas pantropical spotted dolphins were sighted primarily in the southern portion.

Other Citation Details:

Mullin and Fulling. 2003. Abundance of cetaceans on the southern U.S. north atlantic ocean during summer 1998. Fish Bull 101:603-613


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Abundance
None Atlantic spotted dolphin
None Bottlenose dolphins
None cetatceans
None Clymene dolphin
None distribution
None Grampus griseus
None Risso’s dolphins
None S clymene
None S. coeruleoalba
None S. attenuata
None sperm whales
None striped dolphin

Temporal Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None 1998

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Atlantic Ocean

Document Information

Format: Acrobat Portable Document Format
Status Code: Published

Support Roles


CC ID: 210388
Date Effective From: 2003
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Mullin, Keith D
Address: 3209 Frederic St.
Pascagoula, MS 39568
Email Address:
Phone: 228-549-1632
Fax: 228-769-9200


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 210400
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 1998-07-08
End: 1998-08-17

This is when the sampling was done to collect the data used in this article



CC ID: 210383
URL Type:
Online Resource

This will display the journal article in .pdf format.

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 26134
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:26134
Metadata Record Created By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Created: 2015-07-28 07:20+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2021-04-29
Owner Org: SEFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2021-04-29
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2022-04-29