This is an OBIS formatted version of the Canadian government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans Maritimes Region database for visual sightings of cetaceans (e.g. whales, dolphins and porpoises) and other large pelagic animals (e.g. fish and turtles) mostly from the Scotian Shelf/Bay of Fundy portions of Canada's east coast. The collectors of these sightings are diverse (e.g. NGO researchers, ... fisheries observers, private consultants, etc...), mostly on-board ship and mostly collected since the late 1990s.
The horizontal resolution of the data (e.g. distance between sightings) varies by a vast amount - just metres in some areas like the Bay of Fundy, and tens to thousands of kilometers elsewhere, like off northern Labrador. A small portion of the database (e.g. DFO Survey) are standardized marine mammal survey data, where a line transect sightings survey is conducted and sightings effort is logged. Only these survey data allow for the calculation of Sightings Per Unit Effort and the use of Distance Sampling methods, leading to a statistically-based, unbiased abundance estimate.
The design and structure of the main project database is consistent with other DFO database and with University of Rhode Island (URI) whale sightings database. Departures from the URI standard (mainly species and gear codes) are easily translated by users of either database.
This database is a compilation of a number of datasets, most of the data being gathered opportunistically. More detailed information on the individual sightings, human interactions and animal behaviour are available from this database.
These data are for display on the OBIS portal and associated mapping programs and for download to personal computers for ad-hoc end-user analysis.
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