Once hunted for their oil and baleen, North Atlantic right whales have been protected since 1935, but now their number has declined so steeply that the species may not survive.

The threatened extinction of the species and what is being done to monitor and address it is the subject of an upcoming Tuesdays in the Newsroom discussion sponsored by the Gazette. Titled the Plight of the Right Whale, the program will be held at the newspaper’s Edgartown office on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Dr. Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and chairman of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, will talk and answer questions about one of the world’s largest ocean mammals and the likely culprits in their decreasing population.

Mr. Baumgartner has studied the ecology, foraging behavior, and acoustics of marine mammals for more than 25 years. He has developed systems to remotely detect and report the calls of whales in real time with a goal of reducing human impacts on whales from shipping, fishing, and offshore wind development.

Last year, there were 17 confirmed deaths of North Atlantic right whales, including three that were found in and around Martha’s Vineyard. Most recently, a badly decomposed whale washed up on Chappaquiddick in November. With the total population now estimated around 450, Mr. Baumgartner has said the long-lived species may have just decades left.

Tuesdays in the Newsroom is a discussion series held once a month by the Gazette in the off-season. Doors open at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 for refreshments and the program begins promptly at 5:15 p.m. Admission is free for subscribers to the Vineyard Gazette; non-subscribers pay $10 at the door. Advance registration is required at newsroom.bpt.me.