Registration is requested. All programs start at 7 p.m. in the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX® Theatre unless otherwise noted. Programs last approximately one hour. Most lectures are recorded and available for viewing on the lecture series archive page.

African Manatees and Sea Turtles: Conservation Challenges and Successes

Thursday, August 3

Lucy Keith-Diagne, Ph.D., Founder of the African Aquatic Conservation Fund, Pew Fellow, and New England Aquarium Marine Conservation Action Fund Fellow

Tomas Diagne, Founder of the African Chelonian Institute, Rolex Associate Laureate, and New England Aquarium Marine Conservation Action Fund Fellow

For more than two decades, scientists Lucy Keith-Diagne and Tomas Diagne have been studying manatees and turtles and advocating for their protection. During the last 11 years, Lucy has focused her research on the African manatee, which is one of the least understood of the world’s marine mammals and is often referred to as the “forgotten sirenian.” African manatees live in 21 countries on the western side of the continent, along coasts, and up to 3,000 kilometers inland. They are highly susceptible to accidental capture in fishing nets and are hunted almost everywhere they occur. Lucy will speak about her efforts to determine the number of manatee populations across West and Central Africa, to better understand their diet, and to lead the first assessments of manatee threats and the search for solutions across the species’ range.

Tomas Diagne researches threats to sea turtles in Senegal’s coastal waters, which are a migratory hub for five species of sea turtles. In recent years, Tomas has documented a troubling number of dead sea turtles washing up on Senegal’s beaches. Tomas will share how in addition to assessing this disturbing trend, he is working to use the data to advocate for the reduction of sea turtle bycatch in Senegalese fisheries and to collaborate with fisheries authorities to achieve this. He will also speak about his work with sea turtle geneticists to understand from which populations the stranded turtles are coming. Join us to hear Lucy and Tomas share the challenges and successes they have experienced while working to study and protect these iconic and threatened species.  

The MCAF Ocean Conservation Fellows Program is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Fall 2017 Lectures

We are already looking forward to our next lecture series coming up this fall. This is the first of 10 lectures planned this season. Check back July 15 for the full schedule and list of upcoming speakers.  

ellen douglas head shot

Extreme Events and Climate Change: What We Know and What We Can Do

Thursday, September 14

Ellen Marie Douglas, PE, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hydrology, School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston

This lecture is co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Boston and Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts Boston School for the Environment.

There are three truths that climate science tells us about what we can expect from climate change. The first is small changes in an average value, such as average global temperatures, will have bigger effects on the extremes. We have seen this play out in the extreme weather events that have wrought havoc across the nation and New England over the last decade or longer. Record-breaking events will always occur, but the time between these events should increase. Under climate change, records are getting broken in record time! The second truth is that our history of carbon dioxide emissions has embedded a certain amount of change into the climate system, to which we will need to adapt. The third truth is that if we don’t account for our changing climate in planning and designing, our plans and designs will be wrong. In this presentation, Ellen Marie Douglas will discuss observations of our changing climate, what changes may be in Boston’s future, and some plans for how to adapt to these changes.