Stenella Abundance Research - Line Transect and Ecosystem Survey
The primary objective of the Stenella Abundance Research Line Transect and Ecosystem (STAR-LITE) cruise is to investigate line-transect methodologies used on surveys in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and to explore fine-scale spatial and temporal variability in the ecosystem. The project takes a multidisciplinary approach. Data on cetacean distribution, school size and school composition are collected to determine cetacean abundance. Oceanographic data are collected to characterize habitat and its variation over time. Data on distribution and abundance of seabirds, flyingfish, and marine turtles will further characterize the ecosystem. Skin biopsies of cetaceans provide a database for investigations of stock structure and phylogenetic relationships. Photographs document geographic variation in dolphins and distribution of individual large whales. This project is related to a series of research cruises that have been repeated periodically in the ETP since the 1970s. Recently, a five year series of cruises was conducted from 1986-1990 (Monitoring of Porpoise Stocks) and a three-year series was conducted from 1998 through 2000 (Stenella Abundance Research) with an additional single-year cruises completed in 2003 and 2006. For additional information about STAR, please see: http://swfsc.noaa.gov/MMTD-STAR.
Chief Scientist: Eric Archer, PhD
Survey Coordinator: Annette Henry