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Alaska Science Center

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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.

NPPSD version 2.1 Open file report NPPSD v. 2.1 database icon screenshot of metadata web page

NPPSD User's Guide

NPPSD Access Database [ZIP 70 MB]

NPPSD Metadata
[Web page] [XML file 165 KB]
Taxonomic Code updates
new iconMaking data contributions
Spatial extent of North Pacific Pelagic
Seabird Database samples.
Survey areas of the NPPSD


Our most recent publications include:

Drew, G.S., Piatt, J.F., and Renner, M., 2015, User’s guide to the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database 2.0: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1123, 52 p., doi: 10.3133/ofr20151123 (report) doi:10.5066/F7WQ01T3 (database) [Report PDF 16.5 MB] [Database]

Smith, M. A., N. J. Walker, C. M. Free, M. J. Kirchhoff, G. S. Drew, N. Warnock, and I. J. Stenhouse. 2014. Identifying marine Important Bird Areas using at-sea survey data. Biological Conservation 172:180-189. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.02.039 [Details] [Full Publication]

Drew, G. S., J. F. Piatt, and D. F. Hill. 2013. Effects of currents and tides in fine-scale use of marine bird habitats in a Southeast Alaska hotspot. Marine Ecology Progress Series 487:275-286. doi:10.3354/meps10304 [Details] [Full Publication]


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Page Last Modified: March 01 2018 16:54:15.