Lecture Series

Marine Biology & Conservation Lecture Series

lecture-seriesPresented by Thomas More College and WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium’s Riverside Room

The Marine Biology and Conservation Lecture Series is a joint effort between Thomas More College, and the WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium to address and promote critical issues in the fields of marine biology and conservation. Speakers will include scientists, naturalists, educators and other professionals working in related areas. The lectures will focus on a variety of topics and are geared towards the general public and students of all ages.

For more information, contact Dan Dunlap, Director of Education WAVE Foundation (ddunlap@wavefoundation.org) or Chris Lorentz, Professor of Biology Thomas More College (lorentc@thomasmore.edu).

Each evening includes light appetizers and drinks, live exotic animal encounters, presentation, and question and answer session.

Click here to register online

Lecture Series Cost (per lecture):

$20 General Admission

$15 WAVE Foundation Employee/Volunteer
Newport Aquarium Employee/Annual Passholder
Student/Faculty/TMC Alumni

Location: Riverside Room at Newport Aquarium
Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Estimated Agenda for the Evening:

6:00-7:00 pm: Reception: Appetizers, Drinks and Animal Encounters
7:00-8:00 pm: Lecture Presentation
8:00-8:30 pm: Questions & Answer Session

2018 Lecture Series Speaker

Rachel Graham, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of MarAlliance

Turning fear into wonder: The amazing diversity in form, function and behavior of sharks and rays
Marine Biology & Conservation Lecture

Dr. Rachel Graham is a conservation scientist with over 27 years of experience in development and environment projects in Latin America, Africa and Oceania working with multi- and bilateral institutions, academia and NGOs. In 2014 Rachel founded MarAlliance an international NGO that explores, enables and inspires positive change for threatened marine wildlife, their critical habitats and dependent human communities. Rachel believes in a grassroots approach to science, outreach and resource management that is built on alliances and partnerships with multiple sectors. For the past 20 years she has focused on community-based research and conservation of large marine wildlife including sharks, rays, turtles and finfish with a species-specific focus on whale sharks, manta rays and goliath grouper. Her research on the population biology and spatial ecology of threatened species of fish, traditional fisheries and markets is conducted with traditional fishers and other local stakeholders. This work forms the basis of an educational program she created in 2011 to bring marine science to local late primary school students. She has bridged the gap that often exists between grassroots and policy levels through integration of results into management and conservation strategies at multiple spatial scales and social strata. Based in Belize, Rachel catalyzed both the designation of whale sharks and nurse sharks as protected species and the declaration of critical habitat for whale sharks and spawning fish as a network of protected areas. She has supported the creation of numerous conservation mechanisms and processes with a range of partners that are helping to funnel field results into management and policy including national shark working groups (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and pending Panama and Cabo Verde) and the Caribbean Chondrichthyan Network. An active member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, she leads or participates in several advisory committees, editorial boards, and has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers, photos and lay articles. Rachel has a BSc in Zoology from Oxford, a master’s from Edinburgh and an interdisciplinary PhD addressing whale shark ecology, reef fish spawning aggregations, associated fisheries and tourism from University of York. In 2011, she won the Whitley Fund for Nature Gold Award for her work with sharks and communities. Her proudest achievement to date is her two sons who are conscientious fishers, budding marine scientists and conservationists.


2017 Lecture Series Speakers

gitt mcdonald

Dr. Gitte McDonald

Emperors of the Ice: The Physiological Ecology of an Iconic Antarctic Predator, the Emperor Penguin
January 18, 2017
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As a physiological and behavioral ecologist, Dr. Gitte McDonald investigates adaptations that allow animals to survive in extreme environments. Marine mammals and birds provide an ideal study system to investigate how animals deal with extreme conditions because of their large size variation, geographic distribution and physiological challenges they face on a daily basis including hypoxia, extreme temperatures, and fasting. Understanding the mechanisms that allow an organism to interact and survive in its environment is crucial for predicting, and potentially mitigating, their response to climate change. Currently her research program focuses on two broad areas of research: 1) determining the diving capacity of breath-hold divers and understanding the underlying mechanisms, and 2) determining the energetic requirements of foraging and reproduction to better understand energy allocation, physiological trade-offs, and the organism’s role in the ecosystem. To address these questions, she uses state-of-the-art biologgers that measure fine scale diving behavior and physiological variables (heart rate and oxygen), in addition to providing information about the environment. Her research has provided opportunities to work with a broad range of species in a diversity of habitats from the Antarctic to the Galapagos.

wallace nichols

Dr. J. Wallace Nichols

Blue Mind
June 14, 2017
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Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols is a scientist, wild water advocate, movement—maker, New York Times bestselling author, and dad. His research and expeditions have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe. This is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet. J. is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co—founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEE the WILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and Blue Mind Fund, reconnecting people to water. He has authored and co—authored more than 200 scientific papers, articles and reports and his work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, CBS This Morning, Discover Channel, National Geographic and Animal Planet as well as featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Fast Company, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others.