Pelagic Report


adjective technical: of or relating to the open sea.

Each week Steve Junker speaks with a research expert about an aspect of our coastal environment. From disentangling whales, to examining seal scat, to sonar-mapping the undersea environment, and much more, we look at the fascinating natural world where the land meets the ocean.

Shopping bags and candy wrappers. Old fishing gear. Storm-shattered docks. Drink cups and straws.

Marine debris comes in many forms. And you know what? The worst of it doesn't appear on our beaches in summer.

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

For the last few  years Owen Nichols has been studying marine life in Pleasant Bay. Particularly amazing, he says, is the abundance of juvenile diversity within the bay, marking the area as a kind of sealife nursery. He's found juvenile lobsters, mussels, scallops, whelk, and winter flounder, to name just a handful of species.

In October representatives for fifty-four nations gathered in Chile to commit resources to protecting the oceans. Next month in Paris, many of those same officials will gather at the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change.

Rich Delaney, president of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, and a founder and board member of Global Ocean Forum, was in Chile for the Ocean Conference, and he heads soon to the Paris Conference. He is not a negotiator, but will be in Paris with colleagues to conduct a side event, highlighting the impact of climate change on oceans.


"People on Cape Cod are extremely spoiled when it comes to the North Atlantic Right Whale," says Scott Landry, Director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team for the Center for Coastal Studies. "Most folks know that by April you can head up to Herring Cove in Provincetown and watch a huge number of Right Whales from the beach."

Right Whales are the rarest of all the large whale species.  They’re so rare that our North Atlantic population is individually numbered, with around 500 known to exist.