. . . Predicting and Minimizing Environmental Impacts . . .

Marine Wildlife Behavior Database


Section 7: Diving Speed

Section 1: Reference

Section 8: Dive Angle

Section 2: Identification of Subject

Section 9: Surfacing Angle

Section 3: Dive Depth

Section 10: Surface Behavior

Section 4: Dive Time

Section 11: Time At-Sea/On-Land

Section 5: Bottom Behavior

Section 12: Movement

Section 6: Vertical Rate

Literature Cited


Section 12: Movement
This section includes fields that describe the overall movement characteristics of the animal(s). Overall swim speed is a summary statistic of how fast the animal(s) traveled during the given behavior (i.e., speed relative to the horizontal).


  • Overall Swim Speed Minimum
    The minimum speed relative to the horizontal (overall swim speed)(meters/second).

  • Overall Swim Speed Maximum
    The maximum overall swim speed (meters/second).

  • Overall Swim Speed Mean
    The mean or average swim speed (meters/second). If both the surface and bottom swim speeds are reported, they should be averaged together.

  • Overall Swim Speed Median
    The middle value in the distribution of the overall swim speed (meters/second). If there is an even number of swim speed values, it is the average of the two middle values.

  • Overall Swim Speed Mode
    The most common swim speed value; in the frequency distribution, the swim speed with the greatest number of frequencies (meters/second).

  • Gamma Distribution Alpha
    The shape parameter of the gamma distribution of swim speeds, determined by submitting data and fitting the raw data in a statistical package.

  • Gamma Distribution Beta
    The rate parameter, equal to 1/Θ (the scale parameter), of the gamma distribution of swim speeds, determined by submitting data and fitting the raw data in a statistical package.

  • Overall Swim Speed Standard Deviation
    To express the degree of dispersion in the swim speed data, the standard deviation (square root of the variance) should be entered (meters/second).

  • Residency
    Free-form field that allows input of any information about the residency pattern of the study animal(s). Suggested questions to address: Did the subject animal(s) display residency behaviors (i.e., remain within a limited spatial extent for a specified period of time)? What was the time period that the animals remained in the restricted area (length of residency?)

  • Heading Variance
    The rate of change in heading (the direction the subject animal(s) are traveling) (degrees/minute).

  • Aversions/Attractions
    This is a free-form entry where reactions of subject animal(s) to any feature (e.g., received level, sea depth) can be documented. The necessary information is the values at which animals react and the reaction angle. For example, sperm whales are found foraging at depths greater than 200 m with a 90 degree reaction angle.

  • Comments
    Free-form field to note complications with data entry, information to review at a later date, etc.