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.

small octopus in the new england coral canyons and seamounts

A Stroll through the New Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Thursday, May 4

Peter Auster, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Mystic Aquarium, and Research Professor Emeritus of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut

Scott Kraus, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which was designated by President Barack Obama on September 15, 2016, is the only marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean and the only one located off the continental United States. With words and pictures, Drs. Scott Kraus and Peter Auster will recount their many years of research on marine mammals and deep-sea ecology in this region beyond the edge of our continental shelf. The research was gathered using ships, aircraft, and deep-sea submersibles.

jodi rummer holding shark underwater

Amazing Aquatic Athletes in the Anthropocene

Thursday, May 11

Jodie Rummer, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

Globally, coral reefs are at risk from human-induced stressors – such as ocean warming, acidification, and hypoxia – now more than at any time in recorded history. Dramatic effects on fish performance, distribution, and overall ecosystem health are predicted. While the evolutionary success of fish is credited to their adaptations to challenging environmental conditions, whether they can keep pace with the large-scale, rapid changes plaguing their habitats today is not known. Coral reef fishes may be at greater risk as they diversified during a time of relative stable environmental conditions, and today’s rapidly changing conditions may heighten their vulnerability.

Through her research, Dr. Jodie Rummer is tracking metabolic and swimming performance of fishes under climate-change relevant conditions, across development and species, and over multiple generations. This information is crucial for making predictions as to which species and/or populations may be most at risk from climate change and whether the fishes’ long evolutionary history will be enough to protect them from future changes in their habitat.

Weddell seal

Diving Deep: How Do Seals Protect Their Hearts and Brains Without Oxygen?

Tuesday, May 16

Allyson Hindle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Manu Buys, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Departments of Anesthesia and Ophthalmology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Seals dive deep into the ocean to hunt while holding their breath. To do this, their physiology is highly specialized compared to other mammals; the hearts and brains of seals are protected from hypoxic injury that would be detrimental to terrestrial species, including humans. To learn about some of the most extreme, deepest diving seals in the world, a research team traveled to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and tracked down the southernmost mammal on the planet. Join Drs. Allyson Hindle and Manu Buys from Massachusetts General Hospital in discovering what Weddell seals can teach us about new possibilities to treat heart attack and stroke, as well as their own physiological limits in a changing habitat. Science artist Maris Wicks will be a special guest.

Greg Skomal

Seeing Deeper into the World of the Great White Shark

Thursday, May 25

Greg Skomal, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Despite its well-established presence in the North Atlantic Ocean, the white shark is not considered an abundant species, and efforts to study its ecology have historically been hampered by the inability of researchers to predictably find these sharks. However, the rebounding population of gray seals off the coast of New England is drawing white sharks in greater numbers to our shoreline. Cape Cod has now become the only known aggregating site for white sharks in the North Atlantic. To take advantage of this opportunity, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries initiated a long-term white shark research program in 2009 to study the ecology and natural history of this species in the western North Atlantic. With more than 100 white sharks now tagged with sophisticated technology, Greg Skomal and his team are piecing together an incredible story of how this shark lives in the North Atlantic.


looking up at shark swimming with open mouth

Sharks – From Shadow to Light

Thursday, June 1

Brian Skerry, National Geographic photographer and New England Aquarium Explorer-in-Residence 


Brian Skerry saw his first shark in the wild in 1982 and was instantly captivated. Over several decades, he has spent countless hours underwater in locations around the world photographing these fascinating animals.

In 2016, National Geographic Magazine published Brian’s stories about sharks in three consecutive monthly issues–June (Tiger Sharks), July (Great White Sharks), and August (Oceanic Whitetip Sharks). In July 2017, his fourth in this series, Shortfin Mako Sharks, will be published. 

In the June 1 presentation, Brian will share his personal journey with sharks, from the ways they inspire him to his approach with photography and what he has learned along the way.

Nick Whitney tagging a shark

Robo-Shark: How High-Tech Tags Are Revealing the Secret Lives of Sharks

Thursday, June 8

Nick Whitney, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium

Have you ever thought about how much your Fitbit® or smartphone tracks your behavior and wondered if scientists could use the same technology to study wild animals? Well they do. Dr. Nick Whitney has applied this technology to study sharks off the coasts of Hawaii, Florida, and Cape Cod. This new technology goes beyond the traditional goal of tracking sharks and begins to reveal what they do. Like your Fitbit, these tags can provide clues about how much energy sharks use in the wild, critical information for understanding their impact on the ecosystem.

Dr. Whitney will speak about his research, including fine-scale information on how sharks swim, rest, mate, and die. He will also explain some of the unique challenges that come with using these tags on sharks, as well as how this technology is providing crucial information for managing shark fisheries. Please join us for an exciting evening of learning about the secret lives of sharks.