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Burkhardt, Elke (2020): Whale sightings during POLARSTERN cruise PS95.1 (ANT-XXXI/1.1). Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, PANGAEA,

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Data on whale distribution and abundance in the polar oceans is rather sparse, as implementing the standard surveying method, line-transect surveys, is challenging and costly. To overcome this problem, we initiated a program to electronically log all opportunistic cetacean sightings during all Polarstern expeditions through the nautical officer on watch. Opportunistic (visual) sightings by naked eye were logged during Polarstern Cruise PS95.1 (Bremerhaven - Las Palmas) by the nautical officer on duty using a customized Software package (WALOG, WhAleLOGger) installed on a touch screen laptop located on the ship's bridge. Species were identified by naked eye or handheld binoculars (7x50) to the lowest possible taxonomical level and assigned a “certainty” level of identification. The number of animals were counted if possible or estimated for larger groups. Whenever identification to species level was not possible, the next identifiable taxonomical category was assigned. Information on sighting position, date and time are automatically transferred from the ship's DAVIS-Ship System ( to the WALOG software at the time of logging. Photographs were taken if possible for retrospective analysis. All data of acquired sightings were retrospectively validated by a marine biologist and converted to a standard format. To this end, plausibility of sighting time, location, standardization of species names, eventual comments added at the time of sighting, as well as additional information such as photographs (if available) were checked either to verify or improve species identification. Datasets are used in species distribution modelling and to inform interested parties about occurrences.
Cetacean sightings; WALOG
Related to:
Knust, Rainer; Lochte, Karin (2016): The Expeditions PS95.1 and PS95.2 of the Research Vessel POLARSTERN to the Atlantic Ocean in 2015. Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung = Reports on Polar and Marine Research, 702, 72 pp,
Latitude: 35.083250 * Longitude: -12.889000
Date/Time Start: 2015-11-08T15:19:27 * Date/Time End: 2015-11-08T15:19:27
PS95.1-track * Latitude Start: 53.563960 * Longitude Start: 8.548130 * Latitude End: 28.144100 * Longitude End: -15.402200 * Date/Time Start: 2015-10-29T18:00:00 * Date/Time End: 2015-11-08T00:00:00 * Campaign: PS95.1 (ANT-XXXI/1.1) * Basis: Polarstern * Method/Device: Underway cruise track measurements (CT)
Date/Time is given in UTC. Certainty of identification: definite if observer clearly identified the species. The number of individuals is binned according to the options given in the data acquisition software: 1, 2, 3, less equal 5, less equal 10, greater than 10, greater than 20. More precise values may exist, due to observer comments.
#NameShort NameUnitPrincipal InvestigatorMethod/DeviceComment
1DATE/TIMEDate/TimeBurkhardt, ElkeGeocode
2LATITUDELatitudeBurkhardt, ElkeGeocode
3LONGITUDELongitudeBurkhardt, ElkeGeocode
4Whale speciesWhaleBurkhardt, ElkeVisual observation
5Certainty of identificationCertaintyBurkhardt, Elke
6IndividualsInd#Burkhardt, ElkeVisual observation
3 data points

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