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.

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.

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 working to study manatees and turtles and to advocate 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 marine mammals of the world 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 populations across West and Central Africa, to better understand their diet, and 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.