California Current Ecosystem Survey 2018
Monitoring the status of cetaceans through abundance and ecosystem assessment surveys
The California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES) was a 134-sea day survey (26 June - 8 December, 2018) aboard the NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker. This survey is a continuation of the Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Surveys in the California Current conducted by the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division since 1991. Visual line-transect data and passive acoustic encounter data were collected for deriving abundance estimates for all California Current cetacean species. Cetacean tissue samples were collected to assess population structure and range. Photographs were taken to evaluate geographic differences, identify individuals, and assess cetacean health condition. Telemetry tags were deployed on specific species to provide data for assessment of population range and movements. A secondary objective was to characterize the cetacean ecosystem through the collection of underway and station-based oceanographic sampling. Seabird distribution and density data were collected using strip-transect methodology.
The survey occurred in two phases (see maps below). Phase 1 (80 days) was conducted jointly with a SWFSC coastal pelagics fish survey and in collaboration with Cascadia Research Collective, the latter working from small boats to collect skin and blubber biopsy samples and photo identification data. Phase 2 (54 days) was a standard cetacean and ecosystem assessment survey with all data collected from NOAA Ship Lasker.
This study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management through Interagency Agreement M17PG00025, the US Navy Pacific Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species Interagency Agreement N00070-18-MP-4C560, and NOAA’s National Observer Program.
Chief Scientist: Jeff E. Moore