Man and Whales: Changing Views Through Time, a free public lecture series returns to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. Now in its third year, the series delves into a variety of whaling and whale conservation topics through the juxtaposed viewpoints of the historical and the modern. Each night, expert presenters take turns at the podium sharing their knowledge of a specific aspect of whales and whaling, providing a broader understanding of these topics. The 2011 series will examine stranded whales, tagged whales, oiled whales and launch a new comprehensive book on sperm whales.
The four lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings in the Cook Memorial Theater – February 16, March 16, April 20 and May 18, at 7:30 p.m. – with a pre-lecture reception in the Jacobs Family Gallery at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.
February 16, 2011
D-tag is D-thing: From Discovery Tags to DTAGS
Since whaling crews often worked in close proximity to other ships’ crews, including those from other countries, they would avoid confusion by marking their gear and attaching flags to whales they captured. Whale researchers now attach satellite tags and acoustic recording tags to whales to learn details of the lives of animals who spend most of their time below the water’s surface.
Dr. Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum, will explain the methods, terminology, and protocols of marking whales and whaling implements in the Age of Sail to minimize disputes over commodities on the high seas. Stuart will bring examples of this hardware.
Dr. Peter Tyack, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is co-creator of the DTAG (Digital Acoustic Recording Tag) technology that was developed to monitor the behavior of marine mammals, and their response to sound, continuously throughout the dive cycle. Peter will share some exciting insights gained about whales’ lives using this non-invasive form of tagging.
March 16, 2011
The Gulf of Mexico: Spilling Crude Oil Where We Once Spilled Sperm Oil
New Bedford has a deep-rooted connection to the one large ocean that covers more than 70% of our planet. Tonight we will examine our historic link to one place in our marine environment and how the continued quest for oil has impacted this region.
Judith N. Lund, former Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum, will provide us with an historical overview of whaling in the Gulf of Mexico, an endeavor that until recently was not well documented. Using her soon-to-be-published paper as the foundation, Judy will explain how this smaller whale fishery fit in with the larger Atlantic whale fishery.
Deborah Cramer, MIT Visiting Scholar, will explore short term impact of the BP oil spill and the longer term consequence of oil drilling and shipping on the marshes of southeastern Louisiana and the wider Gulf, sharing her recent visit there and showing stunning photographs from her book, Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World.
April 20, 2011
The Great Sperm Whale
Richard Ellis will discuss his latest book on the most important species in the history of whaling; the subject of America’s greatest novel; an animal that can dive to a mile below the surface, hold its breath for an hour, and make the loudest sounds ever heard in nature to debilitate its prey. And of course, the very reason this museum exists.
This lecture will be the official launching of The Great Sperm Whale to the general public. Mr. Ellis will be available to sign his book, which will be on sale in the Museum Store.
May 18, 2011
Stranded Whales: Commodity and Conservation
Before the Marine Mammal Protection Act was created, a stranded whale was destined to become food, oil and a host of other products. Now, these animals are considered a source of information for whale/human interactions.
Michael P. Dyer, Maritime Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum, will take us back in history to when littoral peoples (seaside dwellers) scanned the shorelines in hopes of finding a stranded whale or dolphin. This discussion will then shift forward to when stranded animals offered the rudiments of scientific understanding and ultimately the impetus toward actual whale hunting for commercial products and profit.
Katie Touhey Moore, Marine Mammal Rescue and Program Research Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare, has been actively involved in rescue and rehabilitation of stranded cetaceans, as well as investigating and documenting the reasons for the deaths of these animals. Katie will guide us through the process of assessment and attempted rescue and release. She will also elaborate on the knowledge gained from the necropsies.
As a finale to the Man & Whales lectures, the Whaling Museum is offering a unique opportunity to meet whales on Saturday, May 21. A special whale watch trip is available in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, departing from the Whaling Museum at 8:00 a.m. to Capt. John Boats, 10 Town Wharf, Plymouth Harbor. Tickets are $75 per person, payable in advance, and includes roundtrip transportation. Reservations are required and seating is limited. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Whaling Museum and WDCS. Please call Museum Admissions, 508-997-0046 ext.100, to RSVP for the free lectures and/or sign up for the whale watch.
This series is sponsored by ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) a program administered by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Offered in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
For more information on the Man & Whales Lecture Series, contact: Robert C. Rocha, Jr. Science Programs Manager, (508) 997-0046, ext. 149.