Center for Coastal Studies
Spring's Journey North
Report Your Sightings
Search Journey North
Whale watching on-line! Come along with Anne Smrcina, Education Coordinator at Stellwagen Bank National Marine
Sanctuary, as she reports the sightings of Northern Right Whales on their spring migration from wintering waters
off the shores of Georgian and Florida to the Caribbean to the northern summer feeding waters in the North Atlantic.
Right Whales are among the most endangered whales, with only 300 individuals in the entire population.
Migration Route of North Atlantic Right Whales
Map courtesy of
Dr. Carol Gersmehl and Debbie Bojar
Along the way, students will explore why whales migrate and why they go where they do. Students will learn that
these gentle giants-which grow to 60 feet long and weigh up to 100 tons - survive by eating tiny ocean plankton
and small fish. At the same time, they build up huge fat reserves to live off during their migration south when
they will stop eating entirely. They'll explore the ocean process of "upwelling" which creates a far-reaching
food chain that whales and many other ocean creatures depend upon. In addition, students will study the conservation
issues facing these endangered creatures and explore why one species, the humpback, is making a stronger recovery
than the northern right whale. Students will have the chance to "interview" other students who will take
actual whale-watching expeditions and report their experiences. Finally, if we're lucky, we'll receive reports
on gray and humpback whales and an orca or two from our friends in the Pacific.