User’s guide to the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database 2.0

Open-File Report 2015-1123
By: , and 



The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) was created in 2005 to consolidate data on the oceanic distribution of marine bird species in the North Pacific. Most of these data were collected on surveys by counting species within defined areas and at known locations (that is, on strip transects). The NPPSD also contains observations of other bird species and marine mammals. The original NPPSD combined data from 465 surveys conducted between 1973 and 2002, primarily in waters adjacent to Alaska. These surveys included 61,195 sample transects with location, environment, and metadata information, and the data were organized in a flat-file format. In developing NPPSD 2.0, our goals were to add new datasets, to make significant improvements to database functionality and to provide the database online. NPPSD 2.0 includes data from a broader geographic range within the North Pacific, including new observations made offshore of the Russian Federation, Japan, Korea, British Columbia (Canada), Oregon, and California. These data were imported into a relational database, proofed, and structured in a common format. NPPSD 2.0 contains 351,674 samples (transects) collected between 1973 and 2012, representing a total sampled area of 270,259 square kilometers, and extends the time series of samples in some areas—notably the Bering Sea—to four decades. It contains observations of 16,988,138 birds and 235,545 marine mammals and is available on the NPPSD Web site. Supplementary materials include an updated set of standardized taxonomic codes, reference maps that show the spatial and temporal distribution of the survey efforts and a downloadable query tool.

Suggested Citation

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.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Database Overview
  • Database Contents
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Appendix A. List of Contributors to the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database as Individuals, Program Managers, or Institutions 
  • Appendix B. Map Showing Geographic Regions Used for Table 1
  • Appendix C. Bird Species from the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) Taxonomic Code List 2.1
  • Appendix D. Marine Mammal Species from the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) Taxonomic Code List 2.1 
  • Appendix E. North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database, Version 2 Query Tool
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title User’s guide to the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database 2.0
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1123
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151123
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description iv, 52 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details