This dataset shows the fin whale core habitat, represented as concentrations in abundance distributions based on a dataset from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science report that characterizes cetacean sightings for the years 1970-2005 in the southern Gulf of Maine. The report includes records from dedicated aerial surveys and other platforms. Bias from uneven allocation of survey effort (temporally or spatially) was corrected using a sighting-per-unit-effort (SPUE) algorithm. SPUE values for each 5 x 5 minute grid cell were then interpolated spatially. The resulting interpolations were classified into quantiles and exported as filled contour polygon shapefiles. NOAA binned the data into five classes, and Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) biologists and CZM extracted the top two classes of the data to represent "core" habitat. These classes represent interpolated SPUE values greater than or equal to 17.1.
See the NOAA report for additional information on their methods:
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) 2006. An Ecological Characterization of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Region: Oceanographic, Biogeographic, and Contaminants Assessment. Prepared by NCCOS's Biogeography Team in cooperation with the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Silver Spring, MD. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 45. 356 pp.
To allow for consistent evaluation and comparison of a variety of datasets with distinct spatial resolutions, accuracies, and other characteristics, the Massachusetts ocean management planning area was partitioned into 250 x 250-meter grid cells, each with a unique ID. These data were converted to the planning area grid by extracting all of the cells in which the data layer occurred.