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Movements of Sea Otters in the Santa Barbara Channel


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Tinker, M.T., Tomoleoni, J.A., Staedler, M.M., LaRoche, N.L., Randell, Z., Bowen, L., Murray, M.J., Miles, A.K., 2017, Data for Southern Sea Otter Range Expansion and Habitat Use in the Santa Barbara Channel: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


These data are .csv files of tagged sea otter re-sighting locations (henceforth, resights) collected in the field using a combination of VHF radio telemetry and direct observation using high powered (80x) telescopes. Sea otters were tracked by shore or boat-based observers from the date of tagging until the time of radio battery failure, the animal’s death, or the end of the project, whichever comes first. The frequency of re-sighting was opportunistic, depending on logistical factors such as coastal access, but generally ranged from daily to weekly. Location coordinates are reported latitude and longitude as well as X and Y coordinates in the projection/datum California Teale-Albers NAD 1927. The file contains resight data for all [...]


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Movements of Sea Otters.csv 305.59 KB text/csv


The study was designed to provide critical information for resource managers (specifically the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, henceforth BOEM, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, henceforth USFWS) about the spatial ecology, population status, and potential population threats to sea otters in Santa Barbara Channel, with particular reference to exposure to manmade structures and sources of oil and natural gas. In addition to investigating the potential impacts of natural oil seeps and manmade structures on sea otters in the Santa Barbara Channel, conducting a long-term monitoring study at the extreme southern edge this species’ range provided us the opportunity to examine a variety of biological and ecological parameters that are relevant to sea otters and nearshore ecosystems as a whole. In particular, by using a comparative approach (comparing various metrics between sea otters in Santa Barbara Channel and sea otters in other locations within the range), we can determine the status of the population in this region with respect to prey resources, and identify any natural and/or anthropogenic threats to population recovery.


The authors of these data require that data users contact them regarding intended use and to assist with understanding limitations and interpretation. Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.



  • USGS Western Ecological Research Center



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