Whalefest Monterey Symposium Presentations - VirtualEvent Date:
Jan 26 - Jan 29, 2021 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Don't miss the 11th Annual Whalefest Monterey from January 26-29, 2021 live streamed from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm.
Here's how to view it:
There will be several ways to access the programming via:
Comcast Channel 24 on the Monterey Peninsula
Thank you so much for donating to support Whalefest Monterey. Click Here or Here
Program Schedule: Click Here
And, please stay in touch! To receive updates about other future Whalefest programs, please send your name and email to [email protected] with that request. Thank you!
At a Glance:
What: Fisherman's Wharf Association Presents the 11th Annual Whalefest Monterey
When: Tuesday – Friday, January 26-29, 2021 from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm streamed for free
Where: There will be several ways to access the programming. Go to montereywharf.com for links.
Whalefest Monterey 2021 is a free virtual video event held over four evenings, January 26-29, 2021 from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. In place of the traditional scientific Symposium, exhibits, entertainment and activities around Fisherman’s Wharf; each night’s program features a variety of fascinating talks and cutting-edge presentations by world-renowned scientists; videos from local marine, environment and sustainability-oriented non-profits sharing their goals, research and activities; history walks, arts and crafts demonstrations, an eclectic array of mostly original music performances, and more for all ages.
The event will be live-streamed each night. For links, go to the Whalefest page at www.montereywharf.com. Afterwards, it will be posted on the Whalefest You Tube channel at
About the program
This year’s program will have presentations about Minke whales, dolphins and porpoises, leatherback turtles, intertidal gastropods, orcas, and amazing creatures from the deep sea. Other topics cover new ways to prevent whale entanglements, the latest developments in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the connection between vineyards and the ocean environment. A final treat explains the art and science of whale song and how to compose with whales.
Local non-profits will share their research and activities covering marine mammal rescues, tiny creatures in Elkhorn Slough, mighty condors in Big Sur, sea otters, and killer whales. Learn how to get involved in beach cleanups, learn to surf, or operate underwater ROVs.
Local history will come alive with stories about the native people of Monterey, the whaling days, fishing and the sardine industry, and all about abalone, including a tour of today’s abalone farm. Arts and craft demonstrations illustrate the art of scrimshaw and the ancient Japanese way of gyotaku.
Musicians provide original entertainment in between presentations and there will be lots of gorgeous footage of local sea mammals to view.
Thank you to our valued sponsors:
AquaFina; Arts Council for Monterey County; Fisherman’s Wharf Association; 90.3 KAZU; KMBY; KSBW/ABC/Estrella TV; Letty Sloma Photography; Marine Life Studies; Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; Monterey Herald; John and Marylyn Rallis; Shagbag, Dave Marzetti, KION; The Wecker Group .
More about Whalefest Monterey
Whalefest Monterey, a recent recipient of the prestigious Sea Star Award from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, has been held for the past decade as a free, fun and educational interactive public event for all ages on Old Fisherman’s Wharf celebrating the biodiversity of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Traditionally, the event attracts thousands of visitors to Monterey and features a 2-day Symposium in a conference setting with world-renowned marine experts, creative activities, musical entertainment, and dozens of exhibit booths with interactive displays that showcase marine life, educate about ocean related environmental issues, and emphasize sustainability practices. It benefits many local and national marine organizations that educate, inspire, and empower the public to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). People come from around the world to view the many whales, orcas, dolphins, seals and sea lions, otters and sea birds in Monterey Bay.
For more information about Whalefest Monterey, go to the Whalefest page on www.montereywharf.com or call (831) 238-0777.
We would greatly appreciate your feedback about Whalefest Monterey after the event. Please send your comments to [email protected] Thanks so much!
About the Presenters
Karin Forney, NOAA Fisheries
Karin Forney, who is a Research Biologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and is also affiliated with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (SJSU), will discuss some of the lesser-known marine species off our coast. Her slides will illustrate the diversity of dolphins and porpoises in our waters, and she will share an uplifting story of harbor porpoise populations rebounding after the elimination of gillnet bycatch. She will also share details about another cryptic species, the endangered leatherback turtle, whose abundance off California has declined by 80% since 1990 and for which collective conservation actions are critical.
Dr. Karin Forney is a Research Biologist with the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and a Research Affiliate at San Jose State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Since 1987, Karin has conducted research on the abundance, distribution, ecology, fishery bycatch, and status of over 20 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) in the eastern and central North Pacific Ocean, with special emphasis on harbor porpoise, false killer whales, and other small cetaceans. She has collaborated on studies of endangered leatherback turtles off California and is currently working with a multi-stakeholder group to understand and reduce whale entanglements in pot and trap fisheries along the U.S. West Coast. Results of her studies have been published in scientific journals and technical reports, and presented at national and international scientific conferences. Additional responsibilities include writing or co-authoring annual Stock Assessment Reports for Pacific Marine Mammal Stocks under NMFS jurisdiction, and conducting field research in small aircraft and aboard oceanographic research vessels.
Ari Friedlaender, UCSC
“Hidden in the Ice: Uncovering the Secret Lives of Antarctic Minke Whales”
Whales are the largest animals on the planet and inhabit oceans around the world from the tropics to the poles. Whales spend nearly all of their lives underwater and out of view of researchers. While biologging tools have allowed us to track the underwater movement of these ocean giants and describe their behavior, the development of tags that include animal-borne video cameras has opened up a new world to researchers and the general public. From a whale’s perspective, we can now visualize the environment in which whales live and better understand the decisions they make and the behaviors they employ. In this talk we will explore the underwater lives of the largest and the smallest baleen whales in local and the the most remote parts of the planet: blue whales from California, humpback whales from South Africa, and minke whales from the Antarctica. Not only does this novel perspective provide information about the whales and their environment, but it also provides insights as to how anthropogenic impacts including climate change are affecting these animals.
Ari Friedlaender is an Associate Researcher at the UCSC Institute for Marine Sciences, and the Director of Research at the California Ocean Alliance. Ari’s research focuses on using biologging technology to study the underwater behavior of marine mammals. More specifically, Ari is interested in the foraging ecology of these ocean giants and how environmental change impacts these animals. Ari has lead pioneering studies of whales in Antarctica having made nearly 40 trips over 20 years to understand the impacts of commercial whaling and rapid climate change. Locally in California, Ari has worked for a decade to study the impacts of navy sonar and other anthropogenic stressors on the behavior and survival of marine mammals. Ari works with several different organizations to promote science and conservation including being a National Geographic Explorer and World Wildlife Fund Ambassador and is currently working with BBC and Netflix on documentary films. Ari is also passionate about broadly using information to engage diverse audiences and works with the UCSC Institute for Arts and Sciences, Art Department, and Science Communication Department to develop new ways of communicating science through art and media.
Allison Gong, Cabrillo College
"A Farmer, a Hitch-hiker, and a Worm Impersonator Walk into a Bar: A Trio of Intertidal Gastropods in Monterey Bay”
The most interesting stories about Monterey Bay come from some of its smallest inhabitants. The often overlooked animals of the intertidal are not like us at all, which is exactly what makes them so fascinating. Did you know that there are farmers in the intertidal? Or how hitching a ride on another animal can be essential to reproduction? And what about those things that look like worms, but really are something very different? Tune in to learn about these bizarre and wonderful creatures, and where you can see them for yourself!
Allison is a native Californian who always wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up, and sometimes still can’t believe that she is living this dream. During grad school she discovered an affinity for teaching, and is fortunate to combine these passions by teaching marine biology (and other aspects of biology) at Cabrillo College. She has also taught marine biology at both UCSC, where she holds a position as Research Associate with the Institute of Marine Sciences, and CSUMB. Allison blogs about natural history at www.canaturalist.com.
Kevin Grant, acting Superintendent for NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Kevin Grant is currently the acting superintendent for NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and he will provide an overview of current efforts of staff and partners in 2020. This will include topics on underwater sound monitoring, whale disentanglement, draft management plan, and education and outreach programs.
In 1996 Kevin received a B.S. in Biology/Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Kevin then served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching high school science in the Solomon Islands. After returning from the Peace Corps he worked as a Fisheries Biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducting fisheries-independent monitoring along the Florida panhandle. In 2004 Kevin earned a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs. He spent a year as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Since then, Kevin spent almost three years in Hawaii working as a Policy Specialist with Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and four years as the Deputy Superintendent of National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (formerly Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary). Since July 2012 Kevin has been the Deputy Superintendent of Administration and Operations at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Chad King, MBNMS
“Review of October 2020 Expedition to Davidson Seamount and the Octopus’s Garden”
Chad King shares more insights into the Octopus’s Garden at the Davidson Seamount off the Big Sur, CA coast, revealing more secrets of marine creatures deep on the ocean floor.
Chad King has been a marine biologist with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) since 2002, and is the lead for offshore and deep-sea research. Epipelagic expeditions collect data on microplastics and marine mammal and seabird observations relative to krill and mesopelagic fish densities and oceanography. He is also responsible for the collection, analyses, and dissemination of spatial data for the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) and MBNMS. He is also a NOAA Divemaster and an active participant in subtidal research, including kelp forest and invasive species monitoring and underwater photography and videography.
Stephanie Marcos & Victoria Wade, Marine Life Studies
“Recent Trends in the Ecology of Transient Killer Whales in Monterey Bay, California 2006-2018 and a special encounter with a white killer whale”
Learn about the west coast transient killer whale sub-population that visits Monterey Bay throughout the year. In collaboration with the Transient Killer Whale Research Project and NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Marine Life Studies will present the research poster that was shared at the recent California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Conference in December 2020. Marine Life Studies will also discuss the extraordinary encounter they had with a white killer whale during their research boat survey in April 2020.
Stephanie Marcos is Operations Manager and a Research Scientist for Marine Life Studies. Born and raised in Monterey Bay, California, Stephanie obtained a Bachelor's degree in marine science from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). She oversees all projects including the Research Scientist Program, Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® training and helps coordinate entanglement responses as a Level 2 responder She is also a Co-Investigator on a National Marine Fisheries Service Permit, supervises CSUMB students in the Service Learning Program, and presents Ocean Literacy Education programs for schools.
Victoria Wade is a Research Scientist for Marine Life Studies. Growing up in Southern California, Victoria relocated to Monterey Bay, California, where she joined Marine Life Studies as a marine mammal researcher in 2006. She is a Level 2 responder for the Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® and specializes in educational outreach, where she presents Ocean Literacy Education programs for schools. Her passion for the ocean inspired her to complete a Bachelor's degree in marine biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her work with marine mammals led her to field studies in South Africa and Año Nuevo State Park, where she studied northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and kelp forest ecology.
Peggy Stap, Marine Life Studies
“Saving Whales from Life-threatening Entanglements - the Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® and updates on recent entanglements and projects”
Learn about the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) ®, the anatomy of a whale rescue response, updates on recent entanglements, and Marine Life Studies’ lost and abandoned fishing gear removal project. Listen how this highly trained team uses specialized equipment to rescue whales from a slow, painful death due to life-threatening entanglements as Stap chronicles some recent rescues. This work is conducted under the authority of the Endangered Species Act/Marine Mammal Protection Act permit issued to the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.
Peggy Stap, a Michigan native, saw her first whales on a whale watch in Maui, Hawaii, which was a life- changing experience. In 2006, she founded Marine Life Studies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education, and whale rescue in Moss Landing, California. Peggy, a volunteer herself, has served as Executive Director ever since. She is Co-founder of the Whale Entanglement Team (WET)®, co-investigator Level 3 Responder under NOAA MMHSRP permit for whale rescue, and the principle investigator under NOAA NMFS permit to conduct research on whales and dolphins in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Eric Wente, Wente Vineyards
“Agriculture, the Marine Environment and Sustainability”
One of the buzz words around farming as for many industries is Sustainability. The California wine industry has been very active in developing a sustainable farming and winemaking program – the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (sustainablewinegrowing.org). Wente Family Estates is the first winery to receive a sustainability award from the State of California for integrated pest control management and is one of the first to be certified by the Winegrowing Alliance. We have been a family farming business for 137 years through sustainable practices and want to continue for generations to come.
Eric Wente is a fourth generation member of the Wente family, and has been involved in the family business his entire life.
About the Exhibitors
American Cetacean Society Monterey Bay
Overview of ACS programs and invitation to monthly meetings
California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission's Public Education Program works to increase public knowledge of coastal and marine resources and to engage the public in coastal protection and restoration activities. The program offers a variety of conservation, education, and community involvement programs (including at-home learning and environmental justice resources) through the Protect Our Coast and Oceans fund and Whale Tail® Grants. Luna Taylor takes a few minutes in this video to talk about how you can be involved.
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is a shallow coastal estuary managed in partnership between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hidden in the salt marsh channels are microscopic organisms that feed everything from crabs to whales! Join us to see the Slough's macroinvertebrates up close and discover their connection to the food web with Reserve Naturalists.
Marine Mammal Center
As the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, The Marine Mammal Center is a critical first responder that rescues hundreds of sick and injured marine mammals each year. Learn more how you can support the Center’s efforts to advance global ocean conservation.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Featuring Rey the Penguin and Project White Shark Farallon
Monterey Bay Whale Watching and California Killer Whale Project
Behavior and Ecology of Killer Whales in Monterey Bay over 30 Years
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is often referred to as the hidden gem of Pacific Grove, join museum staff as they teach about one of its iconic features and give you an inside look at the museum
Save Our Shores
Save Our Shores has a legacy of encouraging community involvement and advancing marine conservation. Our programs and projects are designed to support the foundations of a thriving Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. From policy change to educational programs, we are ensuring ocean conservation throughout our community. Enjoy this brief snapshot into some of our work and learn how you can join us in marine and coastal stewardship.
Save the Whales
A short video tour through “Dee”, the 43 ft inflatable model of a humpback whale
Sea Floor Science ROV
Opening Doors for Young Explorers
Sea Otter Savvy
Sharing space with sea otters
Ventana Wildlife Society
California Condors and the Marine Environment
On a wingspan of 9-10 feet, the magnificent, endangered California condor glides gracefully on thermals casting its shadow along the coastline of Monterey County. Learn about these fascinating birds and how they are linked to our marine ecosystem
The Wahine Project
The Wahine Project, founded by Dionne Ybarra. She started Wahine Project to introduce underserved girls to surfing, yoga, ocean conservation, and building self-confidence. This project soon grew to encompass boys and now after 10 years, includes students K-12 from all over Monterey County. They just opened a sustainable surf shop and community center called Alma Del Mar.
About the Musicians
Music creative/contemporary pianist Richard Carr’s live performances take audiences on a journey away from the busy world and into a calmer, less chaotic mental and emotional environment. Drawing on his classical training, jazz and pop familiarity, Richard creates music through an improvisational process. His music has been called a soothing elixir for the soul, mind, and body.
Michael Martinez was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula in Pacific Grove, California. Michael’s musical ability was quite evident at an early age. By twelve, he was composing beautiful melodies on a small keyboard. At age 13, Michael was introduced to famed local pianist and composer, Jonathon Lee. Michael studied under Jonathon Lee for one year. It was also at this time that Jonathon Lee announced to the public that Michael Martinez would take his place as the new Grand Piano Man for the 2005 Big Sur International Marathon, playing for runners on the nine foot concert grand piano at the famous Bixby Bridge turnout.
Michael’s second album entitled “Asilomar”, was released on July 20th, 2018. Asilo al mar, in Spanish, simply means refuge by the sea, and it was here where Michael’s inspirations for creating this album took refuge.
Mike Marotta Jr.-a Monterey native, is the 3rd generation of Marotta’s to entertain Peninsula audiences. For over 50 years he has performed all styles of music on accordion and keyboards with the Marotta Band and Monterey International. Dave Dally-is the leader of the Monterey String Quartet, Concertmaster of Ensemble Monterey, and directs the orchestra at Monterey Peninsula College. He has played with Mike Marotta Jr for over 20 years. Erasmo “Oracio” Aiello—comes from Palermo, Sicily. He has been discovered by musicians eager to share his gift of singing traditional Italian songs and Opera with wider audiences. He is also the owner of the famous Palermo Bakery.
A California native, Nicholas Fettis has been composing and playing since his early teens. By 1968 he wrote a string quartet in the memory of Robert Kennedy. His family life encapsulated by Greek culture, greatly influences him through music, philosophy and spirituality. He attributes his upbringing to the inspiration he finds in life: a love for the natural world, the theosophical heritages of mankind, and the value of every living being, including whales!
He was the first soloist to perform at the grand opening of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1994. Since 2001 he has serenaded walkers and runners at the Big Sur International Marathon, the longest “running” soloist there!
He was part of the first Whalefest since its inception in 2011 and has been Music Director since. He combines original music with his “Orca”stra of whale sounds!
Mads Tolling is an internationally renowned violinist and composer originally from Copenha- gen, Denmark, now living in San Francisco. As a former nine-year member of both bassist Stanley Clarke’s band and the celebrated Turtle Island Quartet, Mads won two Grammy Awards, and he was nominated for a third Grammy in 2015. Recently, he was the 2016 winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Violin Award. Mads has performed with Chick Corea, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Barron, Paquito D’Rivera, Leo Kottke and Sergio & Odair Assad.
Mads now leads his own groups - Mads Tolling Quartet and Mads Tolling & The Mads Men. His latest release, “Playing the 60s”, is an imagination of classic songs from 1960s film, TV and radio, such as “A Taste of Honey” and “Mission Impossible.” The album, released in 2017, features vocalists Kenny Washington and Spencer Day, and spent two months on US jazz radio’s top 30. To find out more about Mads Tolling, please visit http://madstolling.com
Jonah and the Whalewatchers
The Monterey reggae band, Jonah and the Whalewatchers, is known for its loyal fan base and longevity, forming over 25 years ago. The Whalewatchers are fronted by singer/songwrit- er and bass guitarist Alexander S. Shirley, originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Tony Fusco plays impressive licks on electric guitar, Cary Lowney on steel pan and gimbay, definitely catches the beachy vibe, and John Tallon rounds out the band with a driving beat on drums. The music is both innovative, and true to reggae in its roots. Caribbean and African beats with American jazz, blues and soul can be heard as influences in their music.
Dave Holodiloff is a mandolin player, vocalist, composer, and band leader known for his inventive arrangements, expressive musicianship and ability to inspire partnerships with amazing musicians. Dave has made a name for himself both as a performer at festivals and concert venues and as an acoustic event entertainment specialist, bringing the party to weddings and events throughout Northern California and beyond. A devoted craftsman on the mandolin, his diverse recordings include Original Music, Bluegrass, Jazz, Celtic, World Favorites, Holiday Classics, and even a Grateful Dead Bluegrass Tribute.
Louis Colaiannia is a Denver Colorado based classically trained composer and pianist. He tours internationally and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Grand Ole Opry. He has performed with Grammy Award winning founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman, and multi-Grammy nominated Liz Story to name a few. His album “Closer” went to #`1 on the Berkshire Media Group radio chart in 2017. He has won numerous awards including three Global Music Awards, Jazz Artist of the Year Academy Music Award, TMT Music Award for Music Composer of the year 2017, two primo Awards for Entertainer of the Year, and Enlightened Piano Award for Lifetime Achievement, Best Jazz Alum 2017, Holiday Album of the Year 2016 to name a few.
In the past, Whalefest always welcomed the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, an extracurricular high school band of the best high jazz players in Santa Cruz County. It is a band band that the kids have to audition for and functions as a professional band. Unfortunately, due to covid, the entire program is on hold. However, the staff and board members have not been idle, performing for us under the name WWT Trio. They are: Keith Wieland: drums, Robert Wider: bass, and Brian Fitzgerald.
Please donate to Whalefest Monterey by clicking HERE.
Here are links to the Whalefest Monterey Presentations for 2016-2020:
Whalefest Monterey 2020 Presentations:
Saturday, January 25, 2020
#1 William Oestreich, Shirel Rachel Kahane-Rapport, James Andrew Fahlbusch, and Will Taylor Gough--Students from Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University. "The Formative Stages of Becoming a Whale Researcher"
#2 Paul Michel, MBNMS. "An update on the latest developments concerning the Sanctuary"
#3 Chad King, MBNMS. "Octopus Garden and a Whale Fall: Recent Discoveries in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary"
Welcome. Mary Alice Fettis, Whalefest Committee Chair
Welcome. Mayor Roberson
#4 Julie Packard, Exec Dir. Monterey Bay Aquarium, with Erika Mahoney, KAZU. "If we're talking about saving the planet, we're talking about saving the ocean: A conversation with Julie Packard “
#5 Rear Admiral (ret.) Jon White, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, “Ocean Security: Breaching Challenges Through The Power Of Partnerships”
#6 Colleen Flanigan, Living Sea Sculpture/ UCSC. "Art and Science for Coral Reef Restoration"
Sunday, January 26, 2020
#7 Steve Mandel, Executive Director, Oceans 360. “Using Virtual Reality for Ocean Conservation Education”
#8 Wallace J. Nichols, PH.D., Author Blue Mind. “Whales are Medicine”
#9 Peggy Stap, Marine Life Studies. “Whale Disentanglement by the General Public: Good Intentions, Bad Decisions and Updates of The Whale Entanglement Team (WET)®”
#10 Brandon Southall, Ph.D., Southall Environmental Associates. “Listening to California’s Whales: Acoustic Science to Inform Conservation and Inspire the Next Generation”
Whalefest Monterey 2019 Presentations
Whalefest 2019 - Whale Conservation Efforts, California
Whalefest 2019 - Creating Sustainable Fishing Future
Whalefest 2019 - Whale Entanglement Team
Whalefest 2019 - Monterey, Abalone Capitol of the World
Here's the link to Sunday's Lectures.
Whalefest 2019 - Ecotourism as a Tool for Marine Conservation
Whalefest 2019 - Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Whalefest 2019 - Shrinking Squid & Climate Change
Whalefest 2019 - Tracking Ecosystem Changes with Seabird Feathers
Whalefest Monterey 2018 Symposium YouTube Links
Elan Porter Hopkins Marine Station: What Can Undesirable Fish