The Great Gray Whale Migration

The California coast is renowned for its whale-watching and spring's the perfect time to spot gray whales migrating north. To mark the occasion, join us for an evening exploring the science of gray whales and their annual 10,000-mile journey along the west coast of North America.


  • John Calambokidis is a Senior Research Biologist at Cascadia Research Collective, where he’s studied decades-spanning data of gray whale strandings in Washington state. He’ll tell the stories of these numbers, as well as the story of a unique group of gray whales that return annually to Puget Sound to feed—where they’ve developed a high-risk feeding strategy.
  • Moe Flannery, Collections Manager of Ornithology and Mammalogy, is always on-call as a participant in the NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network. All marine mammals are protected by federal law, even after death, and Moe will talk about why it’s important to house specimens from stranded whales in museum collections, and how researchers use them to better understand marine mammal populations and the threats they face.
  • Find out how gray whales feed in the Arctic waters of the Bering, Chuckchi, and Beaufort Seas to accumulate enough fat and calories to make their 10,000-mile migration. Barbie Halaska, Necropsy Manager at the Marine Mammal Center, talks about how she uses scientific information from stranded gray whales to determine more about their nutritional condition and the overall health of the Arctic ecosystem they rely on.
  • Gray whales spend their winters in lagoons in Baja California, where females give birth and raise their calves. Steven Swartz, Co-Director and Founder of Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Program, shares observations from years of studying whales at Laguna San Ignacio, as well as the current conservation issues facing these whales, and how his organization is helping to protect these important aggregation areas and manage eco-tourism.

All NightLife virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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