For Immediate Release
August 6, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
For Immediate Release: Christy Hudak to speak about The Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture given by Christy Hudak on August 15 from 7:00-8:00 at 33 Washington Street. Her talk “Tracking the Annual Return of the North Atlantic Right Whale to Massachusetts Waters” is about the critically endangered species that was once abundant in this region. Hudak is a research associate in the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies.
Right Whales are a critically endangered species with a total population estimated to be only about 450 whales. They have a high mortality rate and a low birth rate. The whales are in danger of becoming extinct unless steps are taken to help the populations grow. Though they are a protected species, they still suffer casualties from entanglements and ship strikes. Right Whales are a part of Nantucket’s history: they were killed in large amounts by whalers in the eighteenth and nineteenth century because the oil they produced was so prized.
Right Whales can grow up to fifty-six feet in length and in the spring, their feeding ground is Cape Cod Bay. Hudak’s research focuses on the food resources of the Right Whale, which is being impacted by climate change, another danger for Right Whales. The year 2018 has not been a good year for the population. As of April, no calves had been seen in Cape Cod Bay and the previous year contained the highest mortality rate on record; eighteen whales were found dead.
The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a new speaker on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 as part of our summer Science-Speaker Series which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, professors, and doctors. The MMA Speaker Series is sponsored by the Bank of America, Cisco Brewers, and Don Allen Ford. For a full schedule and description of each speaker, please visit our website at mariamitchell.org. The event is free for MMA members and $10 for Non-Members.
The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.