Webinar Series

photo of collage of deep coral sea life

The National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series provides educators, students, and the interested public with educational and scientific expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy. This series generally 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.). However, the series is open to anyone interested in the topics listed below.

For distance learning programs about marine mammals and other protected species in the wild, please visit our Wildlife Viewing Guidelines and the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Life Viewing Guidelines to ensure you are aware of the regulations.

Upcoming Webinars

images of divers exploring shipwrecks and planning dives

Submerged NC: Maritime Archaeology – Exploring and Discovering Shipwrecks

October 7, 2021 10 am Hawaii / 1 pm Pacific / 3 pm Central / 4 pm Eastern

America's greatest museum of our past as a seafaring nation lies on the bottom of our nation's ocean, seas, lakes, and rivers. That heritage is a legacy of thousands of years of settlement, exploration, immigration, harvesting the bounty of the sea, and creating coastal communities and maritime traditions. Shipwrecks offer an exciting window into the study and preservation of our past. They are a random sampling of voyages and a record of past trade and communication. It's almost as if they are frozen in time, giving a fresh perspective on history and acting as valuable classrooms. Archaeology is the study of the ancient and recent past, and maritime archaeology offers a rare glimpse into these submerged historical resources and the landscape that surrounds them.

Join Shannon Ricles, Education and Outreach Coordinator for Monitor National Marine Sanctuary to dive into maritime archaeology. Explore its early beginnings, and learn about maritime archaeology as a career. Discover how technology has changed the tools used to explore shipwrecks, while you dive into the waters off North Carolina. Learn how NOAA and partners work to conserve and protect submerged historical resources and grasp the significance of a World War II battlefield located just off the North Carolina coast. Hear how maritime archaeologists and technology discovered three shipwrecks that give us greater insight into World War II's Battle of the Atlantic.

Preview a free STEM curriculum guide designed to help students understand maritime archaeology. Activities in the guide explore ships through time, the people of maritime archeology, the tools they use, and shipwreck ethics and conservation. This free curriculum guide, Maritime Archaeology – Discovering and Exploring Shipwrecks is designed for grades 6-12.

Although this webinar is aimed at educators, anyone interested in attending is welcomed to join us!


left: a leather back sea turtle; right: a modle of a leatherback sea turtle

Bon Voyage Leatherback Turtles, until we meet again next year!

October 14, 2021 at 4 pm Hawai`i / 7 pm Pacific

Scott Benson, NOAA Fisheries and Lisa Uttal, NOAA Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Leatherback turtles are a NOAA Species in the Spotlight and the Pacific population is critically endangered. Join us for a collaborative presentation to celebrate and learn about Pacific Leatherback sea turtles—one of the largest living reptiles in the world. It is during this time that Scott Benson is out on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean researching these enigmatic animals, who will soon leave only to return in June or July next year.

While they have been making this journey for hundreds of thousands of years, very few people will ever see one of these turtles in the wild. Join Scott and Lisa in the same room with a life size, virtual augmented reality Leatherback turtle, as well as other visuals created by Tanzle, Inc, a data management and visualization tech startup. Take a deep dive with us to better understand the turtle's adaptations, lifestyle and its journey to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


left to right: shoreline, satellite of north carolina coast, mary bthe fits and allyson ropp

Submerged NC: Heritage in the Eye of the Storm – A Systematic Effort to Document Cultural Resources Damaged and Threatened by Hurricanes in Coastal North Carolina

October 19, 2021 7 am Hawaii / 10 am Pacific / 12 pm Central / 1 pm Eastern

The hurricanes of 2018 devastated coastal North Carolina. Not only did they cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, Florence and Michael also impacted coastal cultural resources, including archaeological sites and cemeteries. In response to these storms, the National Park Service is providing emergency supplemental funds to support preservation efforts, including surveys to assist in planning for future storms. The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology (OSA) received funding for two projects that will document and assess cultural resources in the coastal counties of North Carolina.

Join OSA archaeologists Mary Beth Fitts and Allyson Ropp to see how OSA's Shorescape and Coastal Historic Cemetery Survey Projects have been designed to document important places in counties impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. Unlike most surveys of coastal resources, these projects are adopting a holistic approach to the archaeology of maritime lifeways by simultaneously investigating resources on the shoreline, within the littoral zone, and submerged in adjacent waterways. This approach will not only provide a baseline for understanding differential climate change and storm effects on dry and waterlogged sites; it will broaden our understandings of coastal communities' political economies and experiential realms. In addition to identifying the context and goals of these projects, this talk will discuss the prioritization models OSA is using to implement these surveys, which have been designed to identify at-risk sites associated with North Carolina's maritime industries and African American communities, and the role of these efforts to build upon the Office of State Archaeology's Sea Level Rise Project.


a collection of photos from around the national marine sanctuary system

Discover Spectacular: Celebrating 50 Years of Ocean Conservation and Stewardship

October 26, 2021 at 11 am Hawai`i / 2 pm Pacific / 5 pm Eastern

Claire Fackler, National Education Liaison, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

50 years ago, the U.S. ushered in a new era of ocean conservation by creating the National Marine Sanctuary System. Since then, we've grown into a nationwide network of 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments that conserve more than 620,000 square miles of spectacular ocean and Great Lakes waters, an area nearly the size of Alaska.

Your national marine sanctuaries and monuments support coastal communities and drive local economies by providing jobs and opportunities for people to discover, recreate, and form life-long connections with these spectacular places. Sanctuaries connect people and communities through science, education, and stewardship. We rely on these networks to inspire community-based solutions that help us understand and protect our nation's most spectacular habitats, marine life, archaeological wonders, and cultural seascapes.

Learn more about how we look to the future to continue saving these spectacular places and ensure the National Marine Sanctuary System remains a source of pride and enjoyment for all Americans.


left: a man in a life jacket; right: a humpback whale;

Insights into humpback whale use of entire ocean basins gained through two large, international studies

November 3, 2021 at 12 pm Hawai`i / 3 pm Pacific / 6 pm Eastern

David Mattila, Secretariat to the International Whaling Commission and Center for Coastal Studies

Long-term studies of humpback whales in two key habitats within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), were essential to the establishment of two national marine sanctuaries (Stellwagen Bank and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale national marine sanctuaries). These studies also provided the foundation and inspiration for two unprecedented, ocean-basin studies of humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean (YONAH project) and the North Pacific Ocean (SPLASH project). The results of the two projects have provided new insights into the complex lives of humpback whales and their use of entire ocean basins. In addition, the two areas have become focal points for understanding how humans impact whales throughout all oceans, and have stimulated actions to reduce those impacts.

This discussion will focus on the similarities and differences of humpback whales in Hawai‘i and the Atlantic.


left: humpback whale mother and calf; center: people on a small boat; right: a woman poses for a photo;

Every Calf Counts: Hawaii's humpback whale mother and calf pairs in a time of changing climate

November 10, 2021 at 12 pm Hawai`i / 2 pm Pacific / 5 pm Eastern

Dr. Rachel Cartwright, Lead Researcher, Keiki Kohola Project

Each winter, humpback whales from across the North Pacific Ocean head to Hawaiian waters to breed and raise their young. Within the islands, the nearshore waters along the western shoreline of Maui, Hawai`i are a favored nursery region for mothers and their young calves. Over the past twenty years—the Keiki Kohola Project—a small, grassroots research organization based on Maui, has been working to provide information to help ensure the well-being of mothers and calf pairs during this critical nursery period.

Between 2015 and 2017, dramatic increases in water temperatures in the North Pacific severely impacted the region's marine ecosystem. These impacts included the food supplies on which Maui's humpback whales depend. Join Dr. Rachel Cartwright to learn how Maui's mothers and their calves weathered these lean years. She will provide up-to-date information on their current status, and more exciting information about these humpback whale mother and calf pairs.