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About Peggy Stap


Peggy Stap – Marine Life Studies - Executive Director and Founder - Researcher, Educator and Speaker

When Michigan native Peggy Stap saw her first whales on a whale watch in Maui, Hawaii, it was a life-changing experience. In fact, she knew she had found her life’s calling – to help the world understand and protect these amazing creatures. She also realized that the next generation holds the keys to a better understanding of the importance of our planet’s ocean ecology, and that through education and experience, children learn the value of becoming stewards of the oceans, animals and the environment entrusted to us all.


Peggy founded Marine Life Studies, an organization specializing in research, education and conservation, and dedicated to teaching and inspiring children to protect marine wildlife through education and real-life experiences on the water. In June 2009 Marine Life Studies became a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Peggy is also co-founder of the Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® along with Mary Whitney of Fluke Foundation.


Educational Programs for Children: Marine Life Studies presents children’s educational programs in schools, camps, and special events. Marine Life Studies Educational Programs and Activities include the environmental and health hazards of marine debris, water and shore cleanups, marine wildlife entanglement, marine life research, photo ID and data collection, GPS positioning, and study and observation of marine wildlife in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

  • Marine Life Educational Programs and Activities have been presented by Peggy Stap to over 1000 elementary school children in Maui, Hawaii, Michigan, and Monterey County/Santia Cruz County, California since 1998.
  • Marine Mammal Research Science and Technology and Marine Debris Educational Programs were presented by Peggy Stap at Whale Quest Kapalua in Maui 2006-2009.
  • Marine Life Studies was instrumental in the development of the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) of Central and Northern California and is involved in whale disentanglement education and trainings.
  • Marine Life Studies developed the Marine Life Studies Whale and Marine Wildlife Adventure and the Marine Life Studies Junior Research Scientist™ Program in cooperation with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District.
  • Marine Life Studies developed the Marine Life Studies' Ocean Literacy Education Outreach Program and is a Community Partner of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County. Marine Life Studies offers free Marine Life Studies Educational Programs and Activities children in the Monterey County communities of Monterey, Seaside, Salinas, and Marina, California.
  • Marine Life Studies provided education and classes to adults and children during the BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California.
  • Marine Life Studies educational programs have been presented by Peggy Stap to the docents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


Research Background: Peggy Stap has been volunteering, researching and teaching the public about marine wildlife from since 1998.

  • Co-Investigator for the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation (HWRF) under a NOAA Fisheries Endangered Species Research Permit
  • Coordinated data reporting for HWRF’s role in the SPLASH program, the most comprehensive study ever attempted of the endangered North Pacific humpback whale population
  • Research Assistant for Oceanic Society Whale & Dolphin Research Projects in Monterey and Bahamas
  • Worked with the Cascadia Research Collective (Olympia, WA)
  • Studied marine mammal identification at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (Seattle, WA)


She is also an avid wildlife photographer and her work has been featured in many publications including National Geographic, the book, Whales and Dolphins of the North American Pacific, calendars and many other magazines.


Ms. Stap has worked with television producers, news reporters and authors, and she has been involved in the following:


Public Speaking: Peggy Stap is a public speaker and educator. Her presentations are interesting, and exciting, sometimes sad, but always inspiring. Topics include:

  • Marine Wildlife Facts, Statistics, Photos, Hydrophone Recordings and Videos
  • Educating Environmental Stewards of the Future: Marine Life Studies Educational Programs
  • Facts about Marine Debris and Entanglement and the Effects on Marine Wildlife
  • Humpback Whale Fluke Identification; Killer Whale and Dolphin Markings and Dorsal Identification
  • Stories about her dog “Whiskie the Whale Spotter™”


“The next generation holds the keys to better understand the importance of our planet’s ocean ecology. To learn and understand shows the value and importance of being stewards of the animals and environment entrusted to us.” –Peggy Stap    


Currently, Ms. Stap is the Principle Investigator under a NOAA Fisheries GA Research Permit to study marine wildlife in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.