SDE Feature Class
biota, Channel Islands, marine mammals, southern California Bight, California, southern California, aerial survey, environment
Recent changes in oceanography and human demography prompted a need for updated information regarding at-sea populations of seabirds and marine mammals in the Bight.
Aerial at-sea and coastal surveys were conducted to examine the distribution and abundance of marine mammals (Pierson et al. 2004) off Southern California, from Cambria, California to the Mexican border and including the area 90 to 180 km from the shoreline. From May 1999 to January 2002, nine complete aerial surveys were flown throughout the survey area, with monthly replicated (n=2 per month/year) surveys flown throughout the central portion (e.g., area surrounding the northern Channel Islands). In total, flights occurred on 102 days, covering over 54,640 km of transects throughout the entire southern California Bight (Bight) during January, May, and September. Along coastal transects while on effort, a total of 1588 sightings of marine mammals were recorded comprising 9 species. Along offshore transects while on effort, a total of 1278 sightings were recorded comprising 18 species. In total, 20 unique species were identified including four pinnipeds, one carnivore (California sea otter), and 15 cetaceans.
Extensive fieldwork in 1999-2002 was conducted jointly by the U.S. Geological Survey (Western Ecological Research Center, Vallejo and Dixon, California; Principal Investigators J.Y. Takekawa and D.L. Orthmeyer) and Humboldt State University (Department of Wildlife, Arcata, California; Principal Investigators R.T. Golightly and H.R. Carter; Project Leader: G.J. McChesney). Major contributions to fieldwork were made by J. Mason and W. McIver. Significant contributions to data analyses were made by W. Perry, J. Yee, J. Adams, and J. Ackerman. Major project cooperators included Minerals Management Service (M. Pierson, M. McCrary) and the U.S. Navy (S. Schwartz, T. Keeney), and California Department of Fish and Game (P. Kelly, E. Burkett).
This information may be cited and analyzed for summary reports but not used for scientific publication without permission from the authors. Please cite US Geological Survey and Humboldt State University if these data are used or included in developed products.