Join GTM Research Reserve tomorrow at Marineland Dolphin Adventure, from 10-11 a.m., to learn about the Marineland Right Whale Project.

Local scientist, Joy Hampp, will discuss her role with the Marineland Right Whale Project, which contributes to the conservation of endangered right whales. Hampp is a biologist and pilot who flies a biplane to spot and photograph the right whales. She begins monitoring the whales from the air later in the season as they start to migrate south past our coast for the winter.

Citizen scientists, part of the Marineland Right Whale Project, team with researchers in conservation efforts and stewardship for endangered North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialist) on their calving and wintering grounds in coastal waters of northeastern Florida. These dedicated volunteer surveyors travel to designated lookouts on every good weather day from early January to mid-March to search for right whales. Once a right whale is spotted, volunteers and scientists follow the whale along the beach as long as possible, recording its behavior and movement, and then photographing it for identification. During the peak of right whale sightings, an AirCam is used to enhance the effectiveness of the ground survey teams.

Right Whale Watch Project

North Atlantic right whales are about 50 feet long and weigh about 70 tons (14,000 lbs). They have a stocky, black body, no dorsal fin and bumpy patches of rough skin, called callosities, on their head. They are among the rarest of all marine mammal species. Commercial whaling decimated the population in the early 1900s. Today, only around 450 North Atlantic right whales remain.

Tickets are free, but limited seating is available. Please reserve a spot online. Bring your ticket to the Marineland gift shop at 9:45 am on the day of the scheduled presentation to gain entry. All attendees will receive a special wristband for free admission after the lecture (only valid for this lecture) to Marineland. For more information, call 904-823-4500.

This lecture is part of an ongoing, monthly program designed to help inform the public about the coastal environment.