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Shark Week Star to Speak at Newport Aquarium

Thomas More College and the WAVE Foundation, a nonprofit in partnership with Newport Aquarium, will welcome Dr. Craig O’Connell, Ph. D., star of several Discovery Channel programs during Shark Week, to speak at the Newport Aquarium on January 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Craig O’Connell was featured in the Shark Week 2015 episode “Shark Island” to discuss the grisly shark attacks off the shoreline of North Carolina. The Shark Week star is known for his research on the electrosensitivity of hammerhead sharks.

Dr. O’Connell’s lecture is the second in a new speaker series focused on marine biology and conservation. The Marine Biology & Conservation Lecture Series features an exciting lineup of scientists, educators, explorers and conservationists who will speak on the topic of marine systems and their safeguarding.

“Much like Dr. Guggenheim, our inaugural speaker, Dr. O’Connell is an internationally-recognized marine biologist who brings a wealth of research experience and other fieldwork from around the world to Newport and Greater Cincinnati,” said Doctor Christopher Lorentz, Director of Thomas More College’s Environmental Science Program and Biology Field Station. “This will be another amazing opportunity for our students to meet a shark expert and “a rock star” from the field of marine biology. Personally, I am very excited that he is able to visit and look forward to hearing him speak.”

The lecture series is part of Thomas More College’s partnership with Newport Aquarium and the WAVE Foundation, which formally began in August 2014 when the school launched its new marine biology degree program, the first of its kind in the state of Kentucky.

Each lecture includes light appetizers and drinks and live animal encounters beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by the lecture at 7:00 p.m., and a question-and-answer session beginning at 8:00p.m., held at the award-winning Riverside Room at Newport Aquarium.

Lucy Hawkes is the third confirmed speaker of the lecture series on May 18. Hawkes is a physiological ecologist whose work focuses on the costs and drivers of migration in vertebrates using emergent technology. Her lecture theme is “Thirty-Four Years of Tracking Sea Turtles: What We Now Know and How We Can Use it in Conservation.”

In September, “Ocean Doctor” David E. Guggenheim, a marine scientist and submarine pilot who navigated the first manned submersible dives into the world’s largest underwater canyons inside the Bering Sea, was the first speaker in the series.

Tickets for each lecture series are $20 for the public, or $15 for Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders and students. Registration for this event is available at wavefoundation.org/education/lecture-series.

- Staff report/Photo: Dr. Craig O'Connell (via Facebook)