Eastern Tropical Pacific

Our research in the eastern tropical Pacific is focused on assessment of the status of dolphin stocks which have been taken as incidental catch by the yellowfin tuna purse-seine fishery. The project takes a multidisciplinary approach, and includes the following cetacean-based research programs: abundance, behavior, molecular ecology, and acoustics. The Ecology Program conducts research on oceanography, plankton, micronekton, flyingfish, seabirds, marine turtles, and cetacean ecology.

Cruises from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center have been ongoing since the 1970s. Recent projects include Monitoring of Porpoise Stocks (MOPS: 1986 - 1990), Population of Delphinus Stocks (PODS: 1992 - 1993), and Stenella Abundance Research (STAR: 1998 - 2000, 2003).

In addition to these cruises, a multi-national investigation of the eastern tropical Pacific was conducted during 1967 and 1968. This EASTROPAC expedition resulted in a large body of work, documented in the EASTROPAC Atlas.

Selected Publications

Olson, R.J., B.N. Popp, B.S. Graham, G.A. López-Ibarra, R. Galván-Magaña, C.E. Lennert-Cody, N. Bocanegra-Castillo, N.J. Wallsgrove, E. Gier, B. Alatorre-Ramírez, L.T. Ballance, and B. Fry. 2010. Food web inferences of stable isotope spatial patterns in copepods and yellowfin tuna in the pelagic eastern Pacific Ocean. Progress in Oceanography 86:124-138.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Force, M.P., J.M. Cotton, R.A. Rowlett, and L.T. Ballance. 2009. First records of Chatham Island Petrel Pterodroma axillaris in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Ornithology 37:269-271.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Vilchis, L.I., L.T. Ballance, and W. Watson. 2009. Temporal variability of neustonic ichthyoplankton assemblages of the eastern Pacific warm pool: Can community structure be linked to climate variability? Deep-Sea Research I 56:125-140.Pagen, R., P. Peter, and L.T. Ballance. 2008. A Fregatta storm-petrel off Mexico. Western Birds 39:225-227.

Weimerskirch, H. M. Le Corre, C.A. Bost, L.T. Ballance, and R.L. Pitman. 2009. L’avifaune et l’écologie des oiseaux marin. Pages 381-392 in: Clipperton, environnement et biodiversité d’un microcosme océanique. L. Charpy (ed.). Patrimones Naturels 68. MNHN, Paris; IRD, Marseille.

Pagen, R., P. Peter, and L.T. Ballance. 2008. A Fregatta storm-petrel off Mexico. Western Birds 39:225-227.

Redfern, J. V., J. Barlow, L. T. Ballance, T. Gerrodette, and E. A. Becker. 2008. Absence of scale dependence in dolphin-habitat models for the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.  Marine Ecology Progress Series, 363:1-14.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Pitman, R., Fearnbach, H., LeDuc, R., Gilpatrick, J.W., Ford, J.K.B. and Ballance, L.T. 2007. Killer whales preying on a blue whale calf on the Costa Rica Dome: genetics, morphometrics, vocalizations and composition of the group. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 9(2): 151-58.

Ballance, L.T., R.L. Pitman, and P.C. Fiedler. 2006. Oceanographic influences on seabirds and cetaceans of the eastern tropical Pacific: a review. Progress in Oceanography 69:360-390.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Fiedler, P. C. and L. D. Talley. 2006. Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review. Progress in Oceanography, 69(2-4):143-180.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Vilchis, L.I., L.T. Ballance, and P.C. Fiedler. 2006. Pelagic habitat of seabirds in the eastern tropical Pacific: effects of foraging ecology on habitat selection. Marine Ecology Progress Series 315:279-292.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Borberg, J.M., L.T. Ballance, R.L. Pitman, and D.G. Ainley. 2005. A test for bias attributable to seabird avoidance of ships during surveys conducted in the tropical Pacific. Marine Ornithology 33:173-179.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Pitman, R.L., L.T. Ballance, and C. Bost. 2005. Clipperton Island: Pig sty, rat hole and booby prize. Marine Ornithology 33:193-194.The previous link is a link to a non-Federal government web site. Click to review the NOAA Fisheries disclaimer.

Fiedler, P. C. 2002. Environmental change in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean: Review of ENSO and decadal variability. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 244, 265-283.

Fiedler, P. C. 2002. The annual cycle and biological effects of the Costa Rica Dome. Deep-Sea Research I, 49, 321-338.

Pitman, R.L. 2002. Alive and whale: a missing species of whale resurfaces in the tropics. Natural History 111(7):32-36.

Pitman, R.L. and L.T. Ballance. 2002. The changing status of marine birds breeding at San Benedicto Island, Mexico. Wilson Bulletin 114(1):11-19.

Pitman, R. L. and C. Stinchcomb. 2002. Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) as predators of mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus). Pacific Science 56(4):447-450.

Cheng, L. and R.L. Pitman. 2002. Mass oviposition and egg development of the ocean skater Halobates sobrinus (Heteroptera: Gerridae). Pacific Science 56(4):441-445.

Pitman, R.L. and M. S. Lynn. 2001. Biological observations of an unidentified mesoplodont whale in the eastern tropical Pacific and probable identity: Mesoplodon peruvianus. Marine Mammal Science 17(3):648-657.

Spear, L.B., L.T. Ballance, and D.G. Ainley. 2001. Response of seabirds to thermal boundaries in the tropical Pacific: the thermocline versus the Equatorial Front. Marine Ecology Progress Series 219:275-289.

Ballance, L.T. and R.L. Pitman. 1999. Foraging ecology of tropical seabirds. Proceedings of the 22nd International Ornithological Congress, Durban:2057-2071. Adams, N. and R. Slotow (eds.). Johannesburg: BirdLife South Africa.

Pitman, R.L., D.M. Palacios, P.L.R. Brennan, B.J. Brennan, K.C. Balcomb, and P. Miyashita. 1999. Sightings and possible identity of a bottlenose whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific: Indopacetus pacificus? Marine Mammal Science 15:531-549.

Beavers, S.C, and F.L. Ramsey. 1998. Detectability analysis in transect surveys. Journal of Wildlife Management 62(3):948-957.

Fiedler, P. C. , J. Barlow and T. Gerrodette. 1998. Dolphin prey abundance determined from acoustic backscatter data in eastern Pacific surveys. Fishery Bulletin, U.S., 96, 237-247.

Pitman, R.L. and J.R. Jehl. 1998. Geographic variation and reassessment of species limits in "Masked" Boobies of the eastern Pacific. Wilson Bulletin 110:155-170.

Ballance, L.T., R.L. Pitman and S.B. Reilly. 1997. Seabird community structure along a productivity gradient: importance of competition and energetic constraint. Ecology 78:1502-1518.

Beavers, S.C., and E.R. Cassano. 1996. Movements and dive behavior of a male sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the eastern tropical Pacific. Journal of Herpetology 30:97-104.

Pitman, R.L. 1996. Almost atoll. Natural History 105:60-64.

Pitman, R.L., L.B. Spear, and M.P. Force. 1995. The marine birds of Malpelo Island, Colombia. Colonial Waterbirds 18:113-119.

Fiedler, P. C., and S. B. Reilly. 1994. Interannual variability of dolphin habitats in the eastern tropical Pacific. II: effects on abundances estimated from tuna vessel sightings, 1975 - 1990. Fishery Bulletin, U.S. 92:451-463.

Frazier, J.G., H.L. Fierstine, S.C. Beavers, F. Achaval, H. Suganuma, R.L. Pitman, Y. Yamaguchi, and C.M. Prigioni. 1994. Impalement of marine turtles (Reptilia, Chelonia: Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae) by billfishes (Osteichthyes, Perciformes: Istiophoridae and Xiphiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 39:85-96.

Reilly, S. B., and P. C. Fiedler. 1994. Interannual variability of dolphin habitats in the eastern tropical Pacific. I: research vessel surveys, 1986 - 1990. Fishery Bulletin, U.S. 92:434-450.

Pitman, R.L. 1993. Seabird associations with marine turtles in the eastern Pacific. Colonial Waterbirds 16(2):194-201.

Fiedler, P. C., F. P. Chavez, D. W. Behringer and S. B. Reilly. 1992. Physical and biological effects of Los Niсos in the eastern tropical Pacific, 1986-1989. Deep-Sea Research 39:199-219.

Pitman, R.L. and L.T. Ballance. 1992. Parkinson's Petrel distribution and foraging ecology in the eastern tropical Pacific: aspects of an exclusive feeding relationship with dolphins. Condor 94:824-834.

Fiedler, P. C., V. Philbrick and F. P. Chavez. 1991. Oceanic upwelling and productivity in the eastern tropical Pacific. Limnology and Oceanography, 36(8), 1834-1850.

Pitman, R.L. and L.T. Ballance. 1990. Daytime feeding by Leach's Storm-Petrel on a midwater fish, Vinciguerria lucetia, in the eastern tropical Pacific. Condor 92:524-527.

Reilly, S. B. 1990. Seasonal changes in distribution and habitat differences among dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific. Marine Ecology Progress Series 66:1-11.

Reilly, S. B., and V. G. Thayer. 1990. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) distribution in the eastern tropical Pacific. Marine Mammal Science 6:265-277.

Au, D.W.K., and R. L. Pitman. 1988. Seabird relationships with tropical tunas and dolphins, p. 174-212. In J. Burger (ed.), Seabirds and other marine vertebrates. Competition, predation and other interactions. Colombia University Press, New York.

Pitman, R.L., Anelio Aguayo-L., and Jorge Urban-R. 1987. Observations of an unidentified beaked whale (Mesoplodon sp.) in the eastern tropical Pacific. Marine Mammal Science 3:345-352.

Au, D. W. K., and R. L. Pitman. 1986. Seabird interactions with dolphins and tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific. Condor 88:304-317.

Pitman, R.L. 1985. The marine birds of Alijos Rocks, Mexico. Western Birds 16:81-92.

Technical Reports

Ambrose, D.A., R.L. Charter, H.G. Moser, S.R. Charter, and W. Watson. 2002. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface (Manta) and oblique (Bongo) plankton tows taken during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean July 30 - December 9, 1998. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-337.

Ambrose, D.A., R.L. Charter, H.G. Moser, B.S. MacCall, and W. Watson. 2002. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface (manta) and oblique (bongo) plankton tows taken during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean July 28 - December 9, 2000. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-342.

Philbrick, V. A., P. C. Fiedler, and S. B. Reilly. 2002. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1997 vaquita abundance survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-339.

Watson, W., E.M. Sandknop, S.R. Charter, D.A. Ambrose, R.L. Charter, and H.G. Moser. 2002. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface (Manta) and oblique (Bongo) plankton tows taken during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean July 28 - December 9, 1999. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-338.

Olson, P.A., Pitman, R.L., Ballance, L.T., Hough, K.R., Dutton, P., and S.B. Reilly. 2001. Summary of seabird, marine turtle, and surface fauna data collected during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, July 28-December 9, 1999. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-NMFS-SWFSC-301.

Olson, P.A., Pitman, R.L., Ballance, L.T., Hough, K.R., Dutton, P.H., and S.B. Reilly. 2001. Summary of seabird, marine turtle, and surface fauna data collected during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, July 28-December 9, 2000. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-NMFS-SWFSC-304.

Philbrick, V. A., P. C. Fiedler, J. T. Fluty, and S. B. Reilly. 2001. Report of oceanographic studies conducted during the 2000 eastern tropical Pacific Ocean survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-NMFS-SWFSC-309.

Philbrick, V. A., P. C. Fiedler, J. T. Fluty, and S. B. Reilly. 2001. Report of oceanographic studies conducted during the 1999 eastern tropical Pacific Ocean survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-NMFS-SWFSC-308.

Philbrick, V. A., P. C. Fiedler, J. T. Fluty, and S. B. Reilly. 2001. Report of oceanographic studies conducted during the 1998 eastern tropical Pacific Ocean survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan, McArthur, and Endeavor. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-NMFS-SWFSC-307.

Ambrose, D. A., R. L. Charter, H. G. Moser, and S. B. Reilly. 2000. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface tows taken during the 1988 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-288.

Charter, S. R., R. L. Charter, H. G. Moser, and S. B. Reilly. 2000. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface tows taken during the 1989 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-289.

Moser, H. G., R. L. Charter, S. B. Reilly, D. A. Ambrose, S. R. Charter, E. M. Sandknop, and W. Watson. 2000. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface tows taken during the 1987 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-287.

Olson, P.A., R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance, and S.B. Reilly. 2000. Summary of seabird, marine turtle, and surface fauna data collected during a survey in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean, July 30 - December 9, 1998. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-298.

Sandknop, E. M., R. L. Charter, H. G. Moser, and S. B. Reilly. 2000. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface tows taken during the 1990 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-290.

Watson, W., R. L. Charter, H. G. Moser, and S. B. Reilly. 2000. Ichthyoplankton and station data for surface tows taken during the 1992 eastern tropical Pacific common dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-291.

Philbrick, V.A., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman and L.T. Ballance. 1993. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1992 eastern tropical Pacific common dolphin survey on the research vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-180.

Philbrick, V.A., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance and D.W. Behringer. 1991. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1990 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-161.

Philbrick, V.A., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance, G.G. Thomas and D.W. Behringer. 1991. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1990 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-160.

Lierhiemer, L.J., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance, S.C. Beavers and D.W. Behringer. 1990. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1989 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-140.

Lierhiemer, L.J., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance, S.C. Beavers, G.G. Thomas and D.W. Behringer. 1990. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1989 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-139.

Lierhiemer, L.J., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance and D.W. Behringer. 1989. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1988 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-132.

Lierhiemer, L.J., P.C. Fiedler, S.B. Reilly, R.L. Pitman, L.T. Ballance, G.G. Thomas and D.W. Behringer. 1989. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1988 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-131.

Thayer, V.G., S.B. Reilly, P.C. Fiedler, R.L. Pitman, G.G. Thomas, and D.W. Behringer. 1988. Report of ecosystem studies during the 1987 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-115.

Thayer, V.G., S.B. Reilly, P.C. Fiedler, C.W. Oliver, and D.W. Behringer. 1988. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1987 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-114.

Thayer, V.G., S.B. Reilly, P.C. Fiedler, R.L. Pitman, G.G. Thomas, and D.W. Behringer. 1988. Report of ecosystem studies during the 1986 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel David Starr Jordan. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-105.

Thayer, V.G., B.G. McDonald, J.M. Ellingson, C.W. Oliver, D.W. Behringer, and S.B. Reilly. 1988. Report of ecosystem studies conducted during the 1986 eastern tropical Pacific dolphin survey on the research vessel McArthur. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-104.

Last modified: 12/24/2014