CS-PHOC: Weekly census counts of Southern Ocean phocids at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island (1997-2023)

Sampling event
Version 1.3 published by SCAR - AntOBIS on Mar 5, 2024 SCAR - AntOBIS
Publication date:
5 March 2024
Published by:
CC0 1.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 284 records in English (88 KB)  - Update frequency: annually
Metadata as an EML file download in English (22 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (19 KB)


The Cape Shirreff Phocid Census (CS-PHOC) dataset is part of long-term monitoring efforts at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) United States Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program (U.S. AMLR) and the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) have conducted synoptic, weekly counts of Southern Ocean phocids hauled out on Cape Shirreff during most austral summers since 1997-98. These census data, which will continue to be collected by the U.S. AMLR program and thus updated yearly, provide a rare and valuable source of information about changes in population trends and area use by Southern Ocean phocids in a climate change hot spot.

CS-PHOC is a sampling event type dataset published as open data with technical support provided by SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Portal (biodiversity.aq) (BELSPO project RT/23/ADVANCE).

This dataset contains records of Hydrurga leptonyx, Leptonychotes weddellii, Lobodon carcinophagus, and Mirounga leonina census counts at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island (62.47° S, 60.77° W). All census records were collected by field biologists using binoculars during field expeditions at Cape Shirreff in the austral summers from December 1997 to February 2023.

The data is published as a standardized Darwin Core Archive, which contains presence, absence, sex and life stage of Southern Ocean phocids observed in each survey. This dataset is published under the license CC0. Please follow the guidelines from the SCAR Data Policy (SCAR, 2023) when using the data. A manuscript describing the CS-PHOC dataset is currently in review; if you are interested in the project or have any questions regarding this dataset, please contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata or via data-biodiversity-aq@naturalsciences.be.

This dataset is part of the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources program funded by NOAA.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 284 records.

1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Please be aware, this is an old version of the dataset.  Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Woodman S M, Borras-Chavez R, Goebel M E, Torres D, Aguayo A, Krause D J (2024). CS-PHOC: Weekly census counts of Southern Ocean phocids at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island (1997-2023). Version 1.3. SCAR - AntOBIS. Samplingevent dataset. https://ipt-obis.gbif.us/resource?r=usamlr_cs-phoc&v=1.3


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is SCAR - AntOBIS. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 2945946f-8a97-41e4-952d-f0a9438b0f2e.  SCAR - AntOBIS publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.




Samuel M. Woodman
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
U.S Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Renato Borras-Chavez
  • Originator
Department of Biology, Baylor University; Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH)
Michael E. Goebel
  • Originator
U.S Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of California at Santa Cruz
Daniel Torres
  • Originator
Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH)
Anelio Aguayo
  • Originator
Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH)
Douglas J. Krause
  • Originator
U.S Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Yi-Ming Gan
  • Point Of Contact
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Geographic Coverage

Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island

Bounding Coordinates South West [-62.47, -60.77], North East [-62.47, -60.77]

Taxonomic Coverage

All phocids were identified to species level

Species Lobodon carcinophagus (Crabeater seal), Mirounga leonina (Southern elephant seal), Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard seal), Leptonychotes weddellii (Weddell seal)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1997-12-10 / 2023-02-10

Project Data

This project provides census count data of Southern Ocean phocids at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island.

Title U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program: Cape Shirreff Phocid Census
Identifier gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:70769
Funding This project is funded by the NOAA Fisheries U.S. AMLR Program. Early years of data collections were funded by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH).

Sampling Methods

This dataset consists of census counts of four Southern Ocean phocids during the austral summer at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island, from 1997 through the time of publication. Counts were performed by trained INACH or U.S. AMLR field biologists following a standardized sampling protocol. Count data were grouped and aggregated to provide a single, comparable count for each species for each census.

Study Extent This dataset describes the census counts of four Southern Ocean phocids (crabeater, leopard, southern elephant, and Weddell seals) at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island (62.47° S, 60.77° W), beginning in 1997 and running through the time of publication.
Quality Control All event records were also reviewed and confirmed using the field notebook scans. All count records were screened for unreasonable values or duplicate entries via R code, either programmatically or visually through plots of the data. Duplicates were removed, and other data flagged by automated checks were validated using paper datasheets or scans of a technician’s field notebooks. Count records were also checked for consistency with regards to blank versus zero entries, ensuring that patterns in the data (i.e., when a particular count column should be NA vs zero) were consistent. Program directors were consulted about all observed patterns, as well as survey scope and techniques over the full timeseries. All scientific names were checked for typo and matched to the species information backbone of Worlds Register of Marine Species (http://marinespecies.org/) and LSID were assigned to each taxa as scientificNameID. Event date and time were verified to be compliant with ISO 8601 standard.

Method step description:

  1. All data were collected at Cape Shirreff (62.47° S, 60.77° W) on the north shore of Livingston Island. Bounded by glaciers to the south, Cape Shirreff is approximately 3 km long and 1.5 km wide. The Cape Shirreff Phocid Census (CS-PHOC) surveys were conducted by INACH from 1997/98 to 2006/07. The U.S. AMLR Pinniped Research Program resumed these surveys in 2009/10, and, except for 2020/21 when the field season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has performed them every season through the time of publication. Most CS-PHOC surveys were completed within one day, but occasionally spanned two or three days due to extenuating circumstances (e.g., weather).
  2. The INACH and U.S. AMLR programs both followed the same overall census protocol, where trained field technicians surveyed all safely accessible regions of Cape Shirreff and recorded all live phocids. They collected counts of each species, as well as age class and sex when possible. While the full extent of the area surveyed varied slightly across and within seasons, core census locations were always surveyed. These core census locations span the vast majority of the coastline and phocid haul-out locations at Cape Shirreff, thereby ensuring that CS-PHOC counts are representative of phocid haul-out at Cape Shirreff during each census window. Locations were surveyed on foot, either by walking through haul-out locations, or using binoculars from a high vantage point when practical. Counts were recorded in field notebooks. After the census, data were either entered into a database or otherwise archived.
  3. Entered data varied slightly across programs. Specifically, data from INACH surveys included explicit zero records when there were none of a particular phocid species at a location, while U.S. AMLR records did not include explicit zero records. After consultation with the U.S. AMLR program directors, explicit records with zeroes or missing codes as appropriate, were added to the U.S. AMLR data for core census locations for this dataset.
  4. Data records were compiled from historical documents, field notebooks, Excel files, and a SQL Server database. INACH historical data (i.e., paper records, reports, Excel files) were consolidated into Excel files. These INACH files, along with historical U.S. AMLR Excel files, were imported into the U.S. AMLR Pinniped SQL Server database using R (R Core Team 2023). Once in the database, all data were read into R, where they were cleaned and standardized as follows. Location names and count types (i.e., age class and sex) were converted to standard names, and columns containing count data were aggregated to the lowest resolution across datasets. For instance, some seasons male and female pup counts were recorded separately, but during others only a single pup count was recorded. For this dataset, all pup counts were aggregated to a single, total pup count for each census record.
  5. After cleaning, records were grouped and aggregated to provide a single, comparable count for each species for each census. Specifically, records were filtered for core census locations, and counts were summed after grouping by census and pinniped species. These core census location count values, along with counts for one other regularly-surveyed location, make up the published CS-PHOC dataset.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Thomas A. Jefferson, Marc A. Webber and Robert L. Pitman. Marine Mammals of the World: a comprehensive guide to their identification, 2nd Edition (Elsevier, 2015). https://doi.org/10.1016/C2012-0-06919-0
  2. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/inport/item/70769 gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:70769
  3. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. (2023). SCAR Report 42 - September 2022 - SCAR Data Policy (2022). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7825314

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 2945946f-8a97-41e4-952d-f0a9438b0f2e