Webinar Series

photo of collage of deep coral sea life

The National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series provides educators with educational and scientific expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. This series targets formal and informal educators that are engaging students (elementary through college) in formal classroom settings, as well as members of the community in informal educational venues (e.g. after school programs, science centers, aquariums, etc.).

To learn more about safely viewing marine mammals and other protected species in the wild, please visit NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Life Viewing Guidelines.

Upcoming Webinars

monitor crew sitting on deck

USS Monitor – America's Most Historic Ironclad

March 4, 2021 at 11 am Hawai`i / 1 pm Pacific / 4 pm Eastern

Shannon Ricles, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Step back to 1862 to learn how the USS Monitor was key in saving the Union. Learn about the ship's inventor and its construction in just 98 days! Explore the role the ship played during and after the Battle of Hampton Roads, and discover how it sank.

Relive its discovery and how it became our nation's first national marine sanctuary, while diving into the recovery and conservation of iconic Monitor artifacts. Look at the recreated faces of two Monitor sailors, whose remains were discovered inside the turret, and learn the science behind their recreation. Find out about free USS Monitor and NOAA resources and programs.

This webinar is presented by NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology in a series titled "Submerged NC."


speaker profile pictures and a outbreak of purple sea urchins

Dive into a Changing Ecosystem: From Lush Kelp Forests to Urchin Barren

March 11, 2021 from 4-5:30 pm Hawai`i / 6:00-7:30 Pacific

Kate Vylet, underwater photographer, scientific diver, and divemaster anchored in Monterey Bay, California, Josh Smith, Ph.D. Candidate and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Karen Grimmer, Resource Protection Coordinator with NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Tucked along California's coast is a vibrant underwater forest of towering kelp and diverse wildlife. In the last six years, unprecedented outbreaks of purple sea urchins have decimated kelp forests within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, lending several questions: What caused the urchin outbreak? How have sea otters responded? Will intervention and urchin culling enhance kelp recovery? Through underwater photography and observations by Kate Vylet, and a scientific discussion by Josh Smith and Karen Grimmer, this talk will outline how science, art, and community observation intersect to inform the path forward.

This presentation will be hosted by Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and O'Neill Sea Odyssey.


a sonart scan of a shipwreck

Oases for Marine Life - Shipwrecks in 3D

March 16, 2021 at 10 am Pacific / 1 pm Eastern

Dr. Avery Paxton, Research Associate, NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Join Dr. Avery Paxton to explore how North Carolina shipwrecks form homes for a diversity of marine life. Learn how for the past decade, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Beaufort Lab have led an effort off the coast of North Carolina to document shipwrecks from the Civil War to the Battle of the Atlantic that brought World War II to our shores. This research honors the sacrifices of all who worked, fought, and died in defense of freedom, as well as recognizing the role these nationally significant shipwrecks play in the region's health as habitat for marine ecosystems.

This presentation will highlight the role that shipwrecks play as oases for marine life and showcase advanced technologies, including echosounder surveys to create 3D visualizations of shipwrecks and the surrounding marine life. Along with collecting data to interpret this underwater battlefield, the project also demonstrates the significance of these shipwrecks as both ecological and historical wonders. This project is an example of NOAA offices collaborating to use their best assets to document the incredible maritime history and marine life off North Carolina's shores.


Ocean Classroom Logo

2021 Virtual Ocean Classroom Teacher Workshop

March 16 and 17, 2021 at 9-11 am Hawai’i / 12-2 pm Pacific / 3-5 pm Eastern

Hosted by Allen Tom, Superintendent, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Dr. Andrew Rossiter, Mary Roney, and Dean Spencer, Waikiki Aquarium
Patty Miller, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
Andy Collins, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Isabel Gaoteote, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Join educators from the Waikiki Aquarium and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to learn about new lesson plans for teachers that students can complete either virtually or in a classroom. The workshop is geared towards teachers (grades 3-8), but open to any interested member of the public. Over two days, teachers will learn about the three national marine sanctuaries in the Pacific Islands region, as well as programs from the oldest public aquarium west of the Mississippi River—the Waikiki Aquarium. Lessons will include topics such as humpback whale biology and coral reef ecosystems.

While geared towards school teachers in Hawaiʻi and American Samoa, the webinar is open to all interested members of the public.

March 16 Register March 17 Register

left: a hand grabs an octopus, middle: close up of an octopus, right: a woman holding an octopus

Cephalopods of Hawai`i

March 24, 2021 at 9 am Hawai`i / 12 pm Pacific / 3 pm Eastern

Heather Ylitalo-Ward, PhD, Aquatic Biologist, State of Hawai`i, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources

Join Heather Ylitalo-Ward, PhD, in her talk about cephalopods and why they are important in Hawai`i and beyond. Having studied octopus sexual selection in graduate school, Dr. Ylitalo-Ward now works for the State of Hawai`i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources monitoring coral reef ecosystem health and populations. For this talk, she will discuss her experience working with these fascinating creatures and why she continues to be enamored with them to this day.


Three photos of Travis Marcoux side by side

Whale Sharks of Hawai’i

April 21, 2021 at 9 am Hawai`i / 12 pm Pacific / 3 pm Eastern

Travis Marcoux, Chief Technical Scientist, Hawaii Uncharted Research Collective

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are known to be the largest fish in the world with some individuals measuring 20 meters (60 feet) long and weighing around 40 tons. Despite their tremendous size, they are gentle giants, using their nearly 1.5 m-wide (5-foot) mouths to filter plankton out of large volumes of water as they swim. Very little is known about whale sharks in Hawai‘i. The researchers at Hawai‘i Uncharted Research Collective started this non-profit organization for this very reason.