This map shows data for sea turtle species and was developed by the Navy Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport and several other research institutions through a partnership with the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT). MDAT collaborated with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and expert work groups to produce maps characterizing the predicted distribution and abundance of cetacean species or species guilds, or sea turtle species, or bird species; or the surveyed biomass of fish species. Details on the source data, methods, and results have been published in a technical report (Sparks and DiMatteo 2023).

Data Considerations

Some of the MDAT maps contain information about federally protected species. Additional information about the distribution, abundance, and range of species listed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is available at:

Details about the models can be found here. These maps represent one set of many available sources of information that inform our current understanding of species distribution and abundance in the Northeast region. Other sources of information on sea turtle species that complement the data shown here include:


Any use of the sea turtle maps and data in this viewer should be accompanied by the following citations:

Sparks, Laura M. and Andrew DiMatteo (2023) Sea Turtle Distribution and Abundance on the East Coast of the United States. Technical Report prepared for Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport. NUWC-NPT Technical Report 12,428; 1 June 2023. https://seamap.env.duke.edu/seamap-models-files/NUWC/Reports/TR_12428_FINAL_2023-06-01.pdf

DiMatteo Andrew, Roberts JJ, Jones D, Garrison L, Hart KM, Kenney RD, McLellan WA, Lomac-MacNair K, Palka D, Rickard ME, Roberts K, Zoidis AM, and Sparks L. (2023). Sea turtle density surface models along the United States Atlantic coast. Manuscript in review.

Curtice C., J. Cleary, E. Shumchenia, and P.N. Halpin. 2019. Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT) Technical Report on the Methods and Development of Marine-life Data to Support Regional Ocean Planning and Management. Prepared on behalf of the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT). Accessed at: http://seamap.env.duke.edu/models/MDAT/MDAT-Technical-Report.pdf.

Marine-life Data Analysis Team (MDAT; Patrick Halpin, Earvin Balderama, Jesse Cleary, Corrie Curtice, Michael Fogarty, Brian Kinlan, Charles Perretti, Jason Roberts, Emily Shumchenia, Arliss Winship). Marine life summary data products for Northeast ocean planning.  Northeast Ocean Data. http://northeastoceandata.org. Accessed MM/DD/YYYY.


Source: The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Division Newport, Corporate Operations Department and McLaughlin Research Corporation. Funding for this project was provided by U.S. Fleet Forces Command and was managed on their behalf by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Atlantic. The authors would like to thank all the data providers and organizations that contributed line transect survey data, and availability bias and perception bias estimates to this project: Lance Garrison, Heather Hass, Chriss Sasso, Robert Kenney, Heather Pettis, Tim Cole, Christin Khan, Meghan Rickard, William McClellan, Ann Pabst, Mitchell Rider, Larisa Avens, Ana CaƱadas, Dan Engelhaupt, Amy Engelhaupt, Jessica Aschettino, Mark Cotter, Debi Palka, Josh Hatch, Sue Barco, Sam Chavez, Kristen Hart, Kelsey Roberts, Kate Lomac-MacNair, Ann Zoidis, The Southeast and Northeast Fisheries Science Centers, Duke University, The University of Rhode Island, New England Aquarium, The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, The University of North Carolina Wilmington, The University of Miami, HDR Inc, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and the United States Geological Survey. Jason Roberts contributed to data processing and provided technical advice. Danielle Jones of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic assisted with project management and collation of availability bias data. Computational support was provided by the University of Rhode Island. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Councils provided funding for summary product creation and data hosting services.  For more information, contact Laura Sparks (laura.m.sparks.civ@us.navy.mil) – Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport.


These products were revised according to agency and public feedback and were posted on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal in September 2023. These products will be updated like other marine life data products as described in the 2016 Northeast Ocean Plan.