Sizing Ocean Giants

Latest version published by Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node on Aug 8, 2018 Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node

What are the greatest sizes that the largest marine megafauna obtain? This is a simple question with a difficult and complex answer. Many of the largest-sized species occur in the world’s oceans. For many of these, rarity, remoteness, and quite simply the logistics of measuring these giants has made obtaining accurate size measurements difficult. Inaccurate reports of maximum sizes run rampant through the scientific literature and popular media. Moreover, how intraspecific variation in the body sizes of these animals relates to sex, population structure, the environment, and interactions with humans remains underappreciated. Here, we review and analyze body size for 25 ocean giants ranging across the animal kingdom. For each taxon we document body size for the largest known marine species of several clades. We also analyze intraspecific variation and identify the largest known individuals for each species. Where data allows, we analyze spatial and temporal intraspecific size variation. We also provide allometric scaling equations between different size measurements as resources to other researchers. In some cases, the lack of data prevents us from fully examining these topics and instead we specifically highlight these deficiencies and the barriers that exist for data collection. Overall, we found considerable variability in intraspecific size distributions from strongly left- to strongly right-skewed. We provide several allometric equations that allow for estimation of total lengths and weights from more easily obtained measurements. In several cases, we also quantify considerable geographic variation and decreases in size likely attributed to humans.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence 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 4,563 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.

  • Occurrence (core)
    4563
  • MeasurementOrFact 
    7826

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.

Downloads

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 4,563 records in English (243 KB) - Update frequency: not planned
Metadata as an EML file download in English (15 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (11 KB)

Versions

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

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm R, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Data from: Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Southwestern Pacific OBIS, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand, 4563 records, Online http://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource.do?r=sizinggiants released on February 1, 2017.

Rights

Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. 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: 833a0adc-c1f0-45a2-9970-8cf9bf171d30.  Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biogeographic Information System.

Keywords

Occurrence; Observation

Contacts

Who created the resource:

Craig McClain
Principal Investigator
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Craig McClain
Principal Investigator
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US

Who filled in the metadata:

Kevin Mackay
Marine Database Manager
NIWA Private Bag 14-901 6241 Kilbirnie Wellington NZ
http://www.niwa.co.nz

Who else was associated with the resource:

Author
Meghan A. Balk
Co-author
Department of Biology, University of New Mexico Albuquerque New Mexico US
Author
Mark C. Benfield
Co-author
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University Baton Rouge Louisiana US
Author
Trevor A. Branch
Co-author
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, University of Washington Seattle Washington US
Author
Catherine Chen
Co-author
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US
Author
James Cosgrove
Co-author
Natural History Section, Royal British Columbia Museum Victoria British Columbia CA
Author
Alistair D. M. Dove
Co-author
Georgia Aquarium Atlanta Georgia US
Author
Lindsay C. Gaskins
Co-author
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US
Author
Rebecca R. Helm
Co-author
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University Providence Rhode Island US
Author
Frederick G. Hochberg
Co-author
Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Santa Barbara California US
Author
Frank B. Lee
Co-author
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US
Author
Andrea Marshall
Co-author
Marine Megafauna Foundation Truckee California US
Author
Steven E. McMurray
Co-author
Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington North Carolina US
Author
Caroline Schanche
Co-author
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US
Author
Shane N. Stone
Co-author
Department of Biology, Duke University Durham North Carolina US
Author
Andrew D. Thaler
Co-author
Blackbeard Biologic: Science and Environmental Advisors Vallejo California US

Geographic Coverage

Global extent

Bounding Coordinates South West [-61.93, -178.33], North East [60.9, 178.022]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Species  Architeuthis dux,  Enteroctopus dofleini,  Cetorhinus maximus,  Dermochelys coriacea,  Bathynomus giganteus,  Mola mola

Bibliographic Citations

  1. McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm R, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Peer J 3: e715. doi:10.5061/dryad.411mv
  2. McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm R, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Data from: Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Dryad Digital Repository. http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.411mv

Additional Metadata

marine, harvested by iOBIS

Alternative Identifiers 833a0adc-c1f0-45a2-9970-8cf9bf171d30
https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=sizinggiants