North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database

Science Center Objects

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 350,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted primarily to census seabirds at sea.

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Spatial extent of North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database samples

Spatial extent of North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database samples. 
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 350,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted primarily to census seabirds at sea. The database documents the abundance and distribution of over 17 million birds comprising 160 species in a region of the North Pacific exceeding 10 million square miles. This area also includes more than 80% of U.S. continental shelf waters, the most productive U.S. commercial fisheries, all Pacific U.S. marine sanctuaries, and many offshore oil wells and lease areas. Survey efforts extended over 40 years and required international cooperation between the United States, Canada, Russia, and Japan for both collection of the data and creation of the database.

The NPPSD offers a powerful new tool for analysis of climate change on marine ecosystems of the Arctic and North Pacific, and improves our ability to monitor the impact of fisheries, vessel traffic and oil development on marine bird communities throughout the region. It also creates an unprecedented opportunity to better understand the marine ecology of dozens of individual species of marine birds and mammals that reside largely in continental shelf waters of the United States.  NPPSD data are available from USGS through the data portal below.

Database and Metadata

NPPSD Sampling Effort Maps

A map showing how much of the North Pacific the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) covers

Geographic coverage of the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) in the Version 1.0 release (Black points; see Drew and Piatt 2005 for details on Ver. 1.0) and new samples added in the Version 2.0 release (Red points).
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

A map showing the total sampling effort for the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database.

Distribution of cumulative sampling effort in the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) Ver. 2.0, over the time period 1973-2012. Samples were binned into 50 x 50 kilometer cells and summed over all years.
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

Maps showing sum of area sampled during four time periods (A) 1973–1982, (B) 1983–1992, (C) 1993–2002, and (D) 2003–2012.  
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

 

Maps showing sum of area sampled during time periods (A) 1973–1982. Cells are 50 × 50 km

Maps showing sum of area sampled during  time period (B) 1983–1992. Cells are 50 × 50 km

Maps showing sum of area sampled during time periods (C) 1993–2002. Cells are 50 × 50 km

Maps showing sum of area sampled during time periods (D) 2003–2012. Cells are 50 × 50 km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seabird Density and Biomass

A map of the North Pacific showing seabird density distribution from NPPSD samples

Distribution of seabird density (birds/km2) across the North Pacific calculated from survey transects in the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) Ver. 2.0. Samples were binned into 100 x 100 kilometer cells and the total number of seabirds was divided by total sampled area to calculate the average density of birds in each 10,000 km2 cell.
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

 

 

 

 

 

A map of the North Pacific showing seabird biomass distribution from NPPSD samples

Distribution of seabird biomass (kg/km2) across the North Pacific calculated from average seabird densities on transects in the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) Ver. 2.0. Samples were binned into 100 x 100 kilometer cells, masses summed for each species and then summed across species to yield total biomass, which was then divided by total sampled area to calculate average biomass density in each cell.
(Credit: Gary Drew, USGS. Public domain.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making data contributions

Whiskered Auklet in the Aleutian Islands

Whiskered Auklet in the Aleutian Islands. 
(Public domain.)

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) has been compiled from thousands of at-sea surveys of seabirds and marine mammals conducted in the North Pacific beginning in 1973. The NPPSD is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center. While we are continually accepting and archiving datasets, we are beginning a major update of the database and are soliciting contributions of at-sea data from researchers. Contributors can provide us with raw cleaned datasets or those summarized into transects. Note, we do not distribute raw data and only provide summarized (by transect and behavior) data through the NPPSD. The document, "NPPSD Data Prep.pdf - [PDF file 34 KB]", provides detailed information regarding data preparation for eventual addition to the NPPSD. Note, if your data is in a very different format or you are unclear as to any detail regarding data formats, contact Gary Drew gdrew@usgs.gov for assistance.