Speaker Series

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Fall 2021 Speaker Series:

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind, A Personal Cape Cod Story

John King

October 22  |  5PM, Zoom

Explorer, photographer, author  and Chatham conservationist John King will share insights into his personal voyage of re-discovery of the coastal and ocean wildlife that spends time each year in or near the waters off Cape Cod and elsewhere in the world. During this hour-long presentation, you will hear John’s stories and see dramatic photographs (both above and below the water) of unique encounters with wildlife on Cape Cod and around the planet.


John is an entrepreneur with a diverse resume, who has strong ties to Cape Cod that span 13 generations. After finishing college, John spent more than 7 years working as a commercial fisherman on vessels in Alaska. He became a licensed ship’s Master at the age of 27 and skippered the 180 foot crabber, Baranof, operating in the Bering Sea during the “hey day” of the king crab fishery. In more recent years, John has been pursuing a lifelong passion to experience and record the earth’s wild places and wild things through his photography. He has traveled extensively to all seven continents photographing and recording experiences in the wild. Locally he is the owner and skipper of the R/v Aleutian Dream which is facilitating the white shark research currently being conducted by scientists from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy & the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries  in outer Cape Cod waters. John serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown; the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and serves as Vice Chair of Cultural Survival, Inc. based in Cambridge, MA. Together with his wife Pam he is a co-founder of the Common Flat Project, a private conservation organization dedicated to creating awareness of the importance of the earth’s biodiversity especially on Cape Cod. Their first book entitled: Wild Cape Cod, Free by Nature was published by Schiffer Publishing in 2012.


PEARL: Connecting the Oceans and Space via an autonomous Surface Platform


November 5  |  5PM


Olivier L. de Weck, Ph.D. dipl.-Ing. (he/him/his)

Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Professor of Engineering Systems
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS)


Maha N. Haji, PhD

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Systems Engineering

Faculty Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future 

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Cornell University


Traditionally ocean exploration and astronautics have been considered as completely separate domains. This is now changing thanks to new architectures and technologies that would not have been possible 10 years ago. PEARL is a new generation platform that can sense the ocean environment above and below, and can autonomously navigate and communicate to shore via satellite constellations such as Iridium and Starlink. We will discuss the concept underpinning PEARL, her design, sensors, and operational results from Oct 2020 to Sep 2021 on Deep Pond and Pleasant Bay. The data to be presented includes wind and pressure data from three tropical storms over summer 2021, sensing water quality changes in the estuary in terms of pH, dissolved oxygen, and salinity, as well as monitoring boat traffic with sensitive hydrophones. We conclude by summarizing the lessons learned and challenges posed by the marine environment incuding biofowling as well as excessive moisture and corrosion.


We welcome your curiosity!  Please submit any and all questions you may have for these speakers to info@pbcb.cc with subject line:  Speaker Series Questions.


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