Episode 15 – The Right Whale to Save

On this episode, Lillian Dukes, Haoyang Tang, and Franny Oppenheimer address the current status of the North Atlantic right whale and the threats they face like entanglements, ship strikes, and climate change. The episode also explores management measures that have been taken to protect them and considers the future of this critically endangered whale.

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Episode Hosts

Antonio Garcia headshot

Lillian Dukes is a senior at Duke University pursuing a B.S. in Biology, a minor in Korean, and a Science and Society Certificate. A native of Georgia, her interests in marine wildlife began with frequent visits to the Georgia Aquarium as a child and have only grown since at Duke. Studying cetaceans under the guidance of Dr. Reny Tyson Moore last summer allowed her to combine her interests in evolutionary genomics, language, and manifestations of empathy. She hopes this podcast inspires others to become involved with their local marine wildlife as she was upon discovering that the North Atlantic Right Whale is Georgia’s state marine mammal. Thanks to Haoyang, Franny, and our interviewees for collaborating on a wonderful project!

Antonio Garcia headshot

Haoyang Tang is a junior at Duke Kunshan University. He is majoring in Environmental Science in the Chemistry track. He enjoys learning about animals, ecosystems, and anything related to nature. He took Reny Tyson Moore’s Marine Mammal course last summer and really enjoyed it.

Twitter: @iamaarontang

Antonio Garcia headshot

Franny Oppenheimer is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Vermont earning a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science. She enjoys being outside, reading, playing frisbee, and all things ocean!


Amanda Bradford, Ph.D.

Dr. Bradford is a research ecologist who currently works with NOAA at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.


Andrew Read head shot

Caroline Good, Ph.D.

Dr. Good is a scientist working as part of the National Marine Fisheries Services’ Office of Protected Resources “Large Whale Team.” Her research and policy work focuses primarily on North Atlantic Right Whales.

Andrew Read head shot

Logan Pallin

Logan Pallin is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of the University of California, Santa Cruz. His current work focuses on the conservation of humpback whales in the Antarctic.

Series Host

Lisa Campbell head shot

Dr. Reny Tyson Moore host the Whale Pod series. She is a broadly trained interdisciplinary behavioral ecologist with expertise in marine mammal bioacoustics, photographic-identification, population biology, and bio-logging tools and techniques. She is currently a staff scientist with Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program and a contractor for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources through Ocean Associates Inc. Reny received her PhD from Duke University in Marine Science and Conservation, where she used high-resolution acoustic and movement tags to study the fine-scale foraging behaviors of humpback whales along the Antarctic Western Peninsula. Before this, Reny obtained her BSc and MSc from Florida State University where she examined nonlinearites in cetacean vocalizations and determined the abundance and community structure of bottlenose dolphins in the Big Bend of Florida. She went on to apply her skills as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Scientific Committee of Antarctic Science Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science, based at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and then as a postdoctoral scientist with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Reny has published or been a co-author on many peer- reviewed scientific articles, technical reports, conference papers, children’s books, and conference and workshop presentations. She also serves as a mentor and teacher for undergraduate and graduate students at various institutions, including the Duke University Marine Lab.

Supplemental material for this episode