PREVIOUS SPEAKERS : 2004-2005 Series
The Puget Sound Chapter of the American Cetacean Society would like to sincerely thank the following presenters for sharing their time, expertise, and passion during the latter half of the 2004-2005 Speaker Series.
15 June 05 - Eric Muhs
Studying Cetaceans from Kites
As part of his 2002 South Pole journey, Eric Muhs developed a kite aerial photography project to record unique views of the Antarctic experience. Since then, he's flown cameras from kites in Hawaii, Easter Island, Mexico, and the east and west coasts of the US. In 2004, working with Puerto Vallarta whale researcher Oscar Frey, Muhs traveled to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California Sur, Mexico to demonstrate the application of kite aerial photography techniques for cetacean study. In addition to a short introduction to the natural history of grey whales, Muhs will discuss the results and future prospects of the kite aerial photography work and show a lot of beautiful pictures of whales.
Eric teaches physics at Roosevelt High School, where he also advises the Robotics Club and the Outdoor Club. An avid scientist, he's worked on the IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole, prehistoric petroglyphs in Hawaii, and launched a cosmic ray experiment on a NASA high altitude balloon. In the fall of 2005, he'll lead a group of students & teachers with their free floating robot aboard NASA's infamous "Vomit Comet" zero gravity airplane. Mr. Muhs has a Masters of Science degree from the University of Washington, is an avid traveler, and is the father of 2 young scientists, aged 7 and 10.
18 May 05 - Pat Weyer
Sacred Vessels and the "Vesica Piscis" the Cosmic Story of the Human-Dolphin Relationship
Dr. Patricia Weyer's graal glass vessels create a mythical watery world, and reflect her doctoral research on dolphin mythology and the ancient Minoan ritual vessel known as rhyta or rhyton. A desire to study these artifacts adorned with naturalistic images of dolphins led Dr. Weyer to research Bronze Age excavations throughout the Greek Islands. And asking the question, "What is the nature of the human-dolphin relationship?" led to the identification of an all-encompassing metaphor, the "vesica piscis" (vessel of the fish), as a valuable source for the origins of the cosmic story of the human-dolphin relationship. In pagan and Christian traditions alike, the vesica piscis metaphor embodied the feminine aspect of sacred vessels. This form in pottery has been used to conjure and celebrate fertility, as well as the place of creation. This mythological construction involving creativity is embedded in the iconography of Minoan marine style pottery revealing the powerful analogy of sea/womb/dolphin. These sacred vessels enshrine the dolphin as the living womb of the sea.
Pat will discuss how examining this metaphor through the lens of delphinology (myths and legends about dolphins), not only provided a frame of reference for interpreting ancient dolphin iconography, but also revealed itself, through archaeological evidence, as an ancient geometric construct known as Euclid's 1st Proposition of Geometry. Her research indicates that the vesica piscis geometry, as a device for the perception of shape and the generation of form, may underpin the structure, function, and philosophical context of many ancient myths, artifacts, and monuments associated with dolphins. Join Pat for an evening of slides and discussion as she shares her journey of discovery, and interprets the cosmic story of the human-dolphin relationship through her art.
Pat Weyer an artist/educator residing in Seattle, Washington has explored a lifelong interest in dolphins, and drawn inspiration for her glass art over 15 years of diving and interacting with dolphins in the wild through her association with the Wild Dolphin Project. She has also worked as a scientific illustrator for the project. Pat is a Pilchuck Glass School scholar and recipient of the "Alice Rooney Women in Glass Scholarship" She has also served as a teaching assistant at Pilchuck as well as Penland School of Arts and Crafts, and the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass. Pat recently completed her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a focus in Visual Art at Union Institute and University. Dr. Weyer continues as a volunteer artist, and Advisory Board member for the Wild Dolphin Project, and she is a contributing author to the University of California Press/Sierra Club Anthology, "Between Species Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond". Click here to view an image of one of Pat's vessels.
20 April 05 - Peter Fromm
Whale Tales: Human Interactions with Whales
From earliest recorded history, cetaceans have fascinated humans. Petroglyphs from the Stone Age, Minoan mosaics, and Roman vases clearly depict whales, dolphins and porpoises. Today, after hundreds of years of commercial whaling and the extinction and near-extinction of many species, cetaceans still grab our attention - witness the millions of people who go whale watching each year, the monthly television specials and frequent newspaper and magazine articles about whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Since 1994, Peter J. Fromm has been documenting human encounters with whales. He shares these stories of human/whale interaction in a slide and video show presentation and asks the audience to relate their own experiences with whales. Fromm also gives examples of the changing relationship between humans and whales, and discusses the natural history of cetaceans.
For nearly 30 years, Peter Fromm has been sharing his passion for the sea through photography, writing, and storytelling. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (majoring in photography) from Ohio University and a Masters of Science from the University of Oregon, where he designed an Interdisciplinary Studies Program that combined audio-visual communication with environmental education and recreation programming. Fromm is also a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton licensed Master and has served as captain and naturalist aboard whale watching boats in the San Juan Islands since 1973. Fromm has self-published two volumes of "Whale Tales: Human Interactions with Whales," unique anthologies of oral histories regarding human encounters with whales.
16 March 05 - Dawn Noren
Marine Mammal Tricks: How are they Specialized to Live in the Marine Environment?
This presentation will take a closer look at marine mammals to show how their specialized adaptations and physiology enable these warm-blooded, air breathing animals to make a living in their aqueous environment. Interestingly, marine mammals evolved from land mammals, and have thus developed specialized physiological and morphological adaptations for life in the water. Dr. Noren will discuss the adaptations and physiological processes that allow marine mammals to maintain their body temperature efficiently while surrounded by cold water and that allow marine mammals to hold their breath and dive for long periods underwater. During this presentation, Dawn will also describe some of the findings of recent research conducted by her and other colleagues relevant to these topics.
Dr. Dawn Noren is a physiological ecologist who has studied the physiology and behavior of a range of marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, northern elephant seals, Steller sea lions, and killer whales, to better understand how these animals live in their environment. Her studies have taken her to the Bahamas, California, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. Generally, her research has focused on physiological mechanisms and processes, the role of individual variability in these mechanisms and processes, and how the marine environment acts to shape and modify them. Dawn received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park and a M.S. in Marine Sciences and PhD in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She moved to Seattle three years ago after receiving a National Research Council post-doctoral Research Associateship Award to investigate Steller sea lion energetics in Alaska at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). For the past two years, she has worked in the Marine Mammal Program at NOAA NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), which is primarily focused on investigating the decline in the Southern Resident killer whale population. She is currently involved with many investigations on potential factors related to the decline, including a study to determine if there are energetic costs to killer whales associated with vessels.
16 February 05 - Uko Gorter
Why Are Killer Whales Black and White?
This presentation will take a close look at color patterns in cetaceans. Uko Gorter, ACS/PS president, will discuss the patterns' function and usefulness to us in identifying individuals, and in recognizing their taxonomic relationship as species. We hope that you not only come away with some interesting new terminology, but also with a renewed appreciation of these beautiful animals.
Uko Gorter is a natural history illustrator specializing in marine mammals. He has illustrated a number of field guides on marine mammals, whale watch brochures, interpretive signs, and magazines such as Ranger Rick. Uko has an insatiable curiosity about the subjects he draws. "Researching what you are illustrating is immensely rewarding and plain fun," says Uko. Please visit Uko's web site www.ukogorter.com for more information about him and his work.
19 January 05 - Jim Nollman
Whales as Life Forms and Energy Forms: The New Art of Jim Nollman
Jim Nollman, founder of interspecies.com, has produced whale expeditions on every ocean with 15 or more species. While known internationally for his 30 years of interactive music with toothed whales, from the very beginning he has been drawing these whales from life in an original artistic style. Over the past year, as computer technology has finally allowed artists to produce museum quality prints, Nollman has been perfecting his drawing style and has begun to show his animal art in galleries and museums around the country and the world. Join ACS for this high-spirited evening presentation about cetacean behavior, habitat, communication, and an artistic approach for depicting the cetacean energy we all feel while around these animals.