- Exhibits & Animals
- IMAX Movies
- Visit the Aquarium
- Fun & Learning
- Long Island Sound
It’s only natural that Dr. Martin Nweeia, a dentist in Sharon, CT, has an interest in teeth. But he has a particular side interest in a tooth of note: the long single spiraling tusk of the mysterious, almost mythical narwhal.
Nweeia is principal investigator and founder of the Narwhal Tooth Expeditions and Research Investigation, whose aim is to determine the purpose and function of narwhal tusks, which can extend up to 9 feet long.
The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) has been called “the unicorn of the sea.” It’s one of the rarest whales in the world. Narwhals are elusive and mysterious, and very distinct in appearance because of their large tusk, which actually is a tooth that grows from the upper jaw of males. Not counting their tusks, they grow to 13 to 18 feet long (similar to their cousin, the beluga) and tend to live in large pods in Arctic waters.
Nweeia directs expedition field studies, laboratory analysis and a traditional study of Inuit and Greenlandic elders ... all to address the scientific enigma of the narwhal tusk that has puzzled the science world for over 200 years. His work on narhwals has been featured in several national magazines, and he was one of the investigators included in the 2005 National Geographic documentary “Masters of the Arctic Ice.” (He also was featured by National Geographic as its “Explorer of the Week” online in late September 2012.)
Tickets are $10 ($8 for Aquarium members).
Dr. Patricia Wright, the biologist featured in “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” will talk about her work with these endangered primates, followed by a screening of this compelling new IMAX film.
Dr. Wright is a professor of biological anthropology at Stony Brook University on Long Island. The new IMAX movie, which opens at The Maritime Aquarium on April 4 as part of its national premiere, blends two stories: the unique natural history of lemurs and Wright’s lifelong mission to help the strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world.
It’s an exciting year for Dr. Wright. Aside from being the featured scientist in a new IMAX movie, she is one of six finalists for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. (The winner will be announced this summer.)
Early in her career, Wright made history when she discovered the golden bamboo lemur, a species that was then unknown to science. The find helped to catalyze the formation of Madagascar’s park systems. A short time later, Wright learned that timber exploiters were logging the golden bamboo lemur’s rain-forest habitat, so she spent months trekking to define park boundaries with the forestry service and securing funding to develop Ranomafana National Park (RNP). Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, RNP encompasses the home of 12 lemur species, some of which are listed among the world’s most endangered animals.
During the last 20 years, public awareness of Madagascar’s ecosystem has flourished through Dr. Wright’s research and outreach efforts. Recently, she spearheaded the creation of Centre ValBio, a huge preserve that is a modern hub for multidisciplinary research, training and public awareness, the first in Madagascar.
Tickets are $20 ($16 for Aquarium members).
"Jungle Jack" Hanna, one of America’s most beloved animal experts, returns to the Aquarium to recount his adventures and display a collection of live animal friends in two special shows. The director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo is one of the most visible and respected ambassadors between the human and animal worlds. His hands-on approach and insights into the public's appreciation of wildlife have won him widespread popular acclaim as a conservationist, author and television personality.
The Connecticut native will share stories from his memorable expeditions with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of the research vessel Calypso, experiences that inspired his book, “Frogmen.” He’ll take us behind the scenes, inside the ship and under the sea with the famous ocean explorer.
Tickets are $10 ($8 for Aquarium members).
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To reserve your seat as a Season Subscriber, call Griffin at 203-852-0700, x2277.