Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

Response to COVID-19: Please check here for an update on the next lecture, stating whether we will be solely online or using a hybrid approach of in-person with an online option.

Format for next lecture: online or in-person (UConn Avery Point)

Per UConn guidelines, masking is not required.

Based on guidance for UConn employees, we ask that all lecture attendees refrain from attending in-person if you are feeling ill or have been exposed to a virus (Covid, Flu, RSV) within the past 10 days.

Public lectures on coastal issues.

New London Ledge Light (photo credit: Patrick Lynch, all rights reserved)

Please join us for our 28th season. This annual lecture series spans the breadth of human interactions with coastal waters, including speakers from the natural and social sciences as well as arts and humanities.

Lecture series is FREE and open to the public.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m.

A link to the online lecture is included below. Or join us in-person!

This series is sponsored by Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, Ørsted, UConn Department of Marine Sciences, UConn Maritime Studies Program and the UConn Avery Point Campus Director’s Office. 

For more information or to be added to our email list, send an email to

Want to Join us at the Live Event, In-Person?

The event is hosted in the Avery Point Auditorium (AUD): Directions | Campus Map.

Parking is free after 5 p.m.; closest lots are near the library (LIB) or in Lot B.

Enter from the Academic Building main entrance, the auditorium is on second floor at the end of the hall (mobility-disabled accessible); or enter through or near the Student Center and go up two flights of stairs. Campus Map

Want to Join the Online Lecture?

All lectures will be offered online and in-person.

Click to sign on:

  • Meeting number (access code): 2634 524 4333
  • Event password: coastal
  • Join the audio conference only:
  • +1-415-655-0002 US Toll
  • Use meeting number (access code) shown above.

    Guidance on using Webex (our online platform). JPG   PDF

    Trouble-shooting Tips

    • The best online experience is achieved by downloading the app (versus using the online browser option).
    • Having trouble logging in? Try using a different web browser – Chrome or Firefox are recommended by Webex.
    • Having audio issues? Watch the presentation on your computer and use a phone to call-in for the audio.
    • Can’t hear? Confirm that the speakers on your computer are unmuted (speaker icon should not have an “x” over it).
    • When you sign on, you will be muted and video will be disabled – you will not be able to turn them on. If you have a question, you may type in the Chat box or you can request to be unmuted in the Chat box – we’d love to hear your voice, so please feel free to make this request! (You may also turn on your video during the Q&A period, upon request.)

    2024 Lecture Highlights

    Tuesday, February 6, 2024; 7:30 p.m.

    Chris Sarro, Marine Scientist, Ørsted

    Robert Soden, Permit Manager, Ørsted

    The Development, Construction and Fisheries Monitoring of Orsted’s South Fork Wind Farm

    Developing and building an offshore wind farm in the US is a long, complicated process which entails years of permitting and site investigation before construction can begin.  Orsted’s South Fork Wind project will be the first commercial scale offshore wind farm to be completed in the US.  This project took almost 10 years to complete from the time of the lease purchase to delivery of first power.  Part of the permitting process is developing and executing a fisheries monitoring plan to examine the effects of offshore wind construction and operations on commercially, ecologically and recreationally important species.  This talk will provide a high-level overview of the development process and construction activities for South Fork Wind including a detailed look at the fisheries monitoring for the project.

    click here for more information

    View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 12 minutes)

      Tuesday, February 20, 2024; 7:30 p.m. 

      Patrick Lynch, artist  |  author  |  designer  |  photographer

      A Tale of Two Estuaries

      Connecticut’s two largest riverine estuaries have long been recognized as world-class natural treasures, also rich with the human history of our region. The two very different characters of the Connecticut River and the Thames River estuaries are due to accidents of geology that determined their fates. We owe the gorgeous rural character of the Lower Connecticut River to vast sediments left behind by the Ice Age glaciers, which prevented the development of large ports on the Connecticut. The historical importance of the Thames River ports of New London and Groton grew from the deep natural harbors of the Thames estuary. Both rivers have been critical to New England’s natural history and human development, and both estuaries are now part of the new Connecticut National Estuarine Research Preserve. This talk will compare and contrast the Thames and Connecticut River estuaries, emphasizing the natural history of our regional estuaries and coastal habitats.

      click here for more information

      View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 5 minutes)

          Tuesday, March 5, 2024; 7:30 p.m. 

          Maura Coughlin, Ph.D., Department of Art + Design, Northeastern University

          Ramshackle Housing and the Erasure of Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Fishing Communities

          This talk looks closely at the modern dispossession of French shoreline maritime communities in visual representation. Over the course of the nineteenth century, former fishing villages on the French Atlantic shoreline were replaced by hotels, casinos, vacation homes, industrial ports and, most paradoxically, by beaches that seemingly offered the experience of “pristine nature.”  The dual demands of tourism and modernization (often celebrated in Impressionist paintings) cleared the working class from the coast and cancelled much of its vibrant culture. This paper examines images of the shoreline for what they offer to picture lost  ‘encultured landscapes’ that were inhabited and worked in specific, local and material ways before they became sites of tourism and summer homes.

          click here for more information

          View the recorded lecture (54 minutes)

            Tuesday, March 19, 2024; 7:30 p.m. 

            Samantha Siedlecki, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut

            Beyond the Surface: Forecasting Ocean Acidification and Other Stressors Facing Marine Resources in a Changing Climate

            Over recent decades, the combination of fossil fuel emissions, deforestation, and cement production have caused large physical and biogeochemical modifications to the world’s oceans. The oceans have warmed, salinity distributions altered, driving changes in stratification. In addition, biogeochemical alterations are co-occurring, including oxygen declines, changes in productivity, and increased dissolved inorganic carbon content due to uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide – which alters the pH and mineral saturation state (Ω) through a process called ocean acidification. Individually and together these changes pose threats to marine organisms. Big ocean changes are happening, but global trends may not accurately represent what happens in coastal regions. The ability to predict changes in ocean health indicators like the degree of acidification in combination with temperature and oxygen in dynamic coastal waters could be of considerable benefit to managers. Since components of the ecosystem respond strongly to climate and physical forcing, the right kind of prognostic information could yield significant payoffs for management and industry. Progress on prediction tools has led to a recent rise in ecological forecasting research and products driven largely by increasing demand for decision-support tools to help marine stakeholders prepare for and adapt to ecosystem variability and change. For example, any predictive information on changes in timing or intensity of OA-related events may help shellfish growers better anticipate conditions, assess risk, and plan accordingly. Over the past ten years, I have been developing a suite of tools to help marine resource managers plan, and this talk will include details about that experience with important implications for the success of these efforts in other regions.

            click here for more information

            View the recorded lecture (check back after the event…)

              Tuesday, April 2, 2024; 7:30 p.m. 

              Michaela J. Thompson, Ph.D., Sustainability & Environmental Management, Harvard Extension School

              Shadows in the Water: What Sharks Tell Us About Ourselves

              Sharks inspire myth-making and hyperbole. We often think of them in totalizing terms: terrifying and primeval, toothy and mysterious, timeless enemies of man. But interactions between sharks and humans are deeply rooted in place and time, and constitute a history often characterized by rapid and dramatic change. In the mid-twentieth century, a series of conjunctures –technological, cultural, and scientific—thrust sharks and people into unprecedented levels of contact, resulting in a new preoccupation with the “shark menace.” To unravel this complex history, this talk examines a series of case studies in the U.S. and South Africa, nested within a larger narrative about the evolving human attitudes and responses to sharks that continue to this day. In doing so, it touches upon issues of knowledge production, contestation and collaboration between stakeholder groups, cultural narratives regarding man-eating animals, and human perceptions of the ocean.

              click here for more information

              View the recorded lecture (check back after the event…)

                Tuesday, April 16, 2024; 7:30 p.m. 

                James T. Carlton, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Sciences Emeritus at Williams College and Director Emeritus  of the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program

                Krystal Rose, M.F.A., Curator of Collections, Mystic Seaport Museum

                Spineless: The Magical World of Marine Invertebrates, and Perspectives on our Finger on the Pulse of Changes in Coastal Invertebrate Diversity

                Join Krystal Rose and Dr. James T. Carlton to learn about one of the latest exhibitions at Mystic Seaport Museum, Spineless: A Glass Menagerie of Blaschka Marine Invertebrates.  The exhibit explores some of the inspiring ways that people have recorded the ocean’s mesmerizing marine invertebrates, an abundant, diverse, and ubiquitous group of sea creatures including sponges, jellyfish, sea anemones, crustaceans, mollusks (such as sea slugs and octopuses), sea squirts, and many more. They will speak about the major themes of the exhibition, including glassmakers Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka of Dresden, Germany, who in the 19th century produced glass models of spineless sea creatures with meticulously accurate anatomical details and colors; sailors’ drawings and descriptions of marine invertebrates found in logbooks and journals; the preservation of marine invertebrates as “wet specimens,” and contemporary, invertebrate-inspired art.  Dr. Carlton will discuss some of the species the Blaschkas created in glass and which live today in our local waters, including some that have since become introduced species around the world.  In particular, Dr. Carlton will explore the extent to which we have our “finger on the pulse” of changes in coastal marine invertebrate diversity.

                click here for more information

                View the recorded lecture (check back after the event…)


                  Past lectures…

                  2023 Season

                  Tuesday, February 7, 2023; 7:30 p.m.; Molly James, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut; Harmony of Nature – fostering connection to the environment through music; View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 32 min)

                    Tuesday, February 21, 2023; 7:30 p.m.; Tim Pettee, Founder and President, Greens Ledge Light Preservation Society Inc.;  Preserving Our Maritime History: The Epic Restoration and Bright Future of Greens Ledge Light; View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 57 min)

                        Tuesday, March 7, 2023; 7:30 p.m.; Timothy Dale Walker, Ph.D.; Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; Guest Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution;  Uncovering and Recentering the Maritime Underground Railroad; View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 10 min)

                          Tuesday, March 21, 2023; 7:30 p.m.; Sarah Porter, Filmmaker;  Horseshoe Crabs: How 350 Million Year Old Sea Creatures Are Vital to Our Survival;  View the recorded lecture (52 minutes)

                            Tuesday, April 4, 2023; 7:30 p.m.; Tessa L. Getchis, Connecticut Sea Grant, University of Connecticut; Department of Extension, University of Connecticut and Zofia A. Baumann, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut;  Ensuring the Future Viability of Connecticut’s Natural Oyster Beds; View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 11 minutes)

                              Tuesday, April 18, 2023; 7:30 p.m., sTo Len, Department of Sanitation Artist in Residence, NY; The Art of Water, Waste, and Wonder

                              2022 Season:

                              Tuesday, February 7, 2022; 7:30 p.m.; Kris Ohleth, Director, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind; David Bidwell, Associate Professor, Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island; Affiliate Scholar, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies–Potsdam; moderator: Angela Silva, Social Scientist- Fisheries & Offshore Wind, ECS Federal, Inc. In support of: NOAA Fisheries, NEFSC, Social Sciences Branch; Examining the potential opportunities and challenges for New England’s emerging offshore wind industryView the recorded lecture (1 hour, 28 minutes)

                              Tuesday, February 22, 2022; 7:30 p.m.; Kimia Shahi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of Southern California & currently serves as Kernan Brothers Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment; “Uncertain Contours”: Coasts at the Confluence of Science and Art in 19th-century AmericaView the recorded lecture (1 hour, 23 minutes)

                              Tuesday, March 8, 2022; 7:30 p.m.; Heidi Dierssen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut; Rethinking the Blue Marble – the Colour of the Sea and SkyView the recorded lecture. (1 hour, missing first few minutes)

                                Tuesday, March 22, 2022; 7:30 p.m.; Akeia de Barros Gomes, Ph.D., Senior Curator of Maritime Social Histories, Mystic Seaport Museum & Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University; Maritime Connections, Maritime Voices: African and Native American Histories of New England;View the recorded lecture (1 hour, 4 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, April 5, 2022; 7:30 p.m.; Jason Oliver Chang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies and Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut; Alexis Dudden, Ph.D., Professor of History at the University of Connecticut; CARGO – Connecticut’s Coolie History in Graphic Media and Public School Curriculum; View the recorded lecture. (59 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, April 19, 2022; 7:30 p.m. ; James M. Lindgren, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, History Department, SUNY Plattsburgh; Blue Water Ports, Global Resources, and Commercial Empires: The Origins of the Nation’s Major Maritime Museums

                                  2021 Season:

                                  Tuesday, February 9, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Skip Finley, Author | Historian | Speaker; A Voyage of Discovery with Skip Finley; Play recording (missing first 15 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, February 23, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Andrew Kahrl, Ph.D., Professor of History and African American Studies, University of Virginia; The Struggle to Reclaim Connecticut’s Coastal Commons; Play recording (1 hour, 23 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, March 9, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Chris Bowser, M.S., NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve; The Hudson River Eel Project: Fish Conservation through Community Engagement; Play recording (1 hour, 20 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, March 23, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Beverly Goodman, Ph.D., Department Head, Department of Marine Geosciences, Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa; Ancient Tsunamis in the Mediterranean: How Past Disasters Save Lives Today; Play recording (1 hour, 16 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, April 6, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Prakash Kashwan, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Co-Director of the Research Program on Economic and Social Rights, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut; Followed by a panel discussion with: Syma Ebbin, Ph.D., Research Coordinator, Connecticut Sea Grant College Program & Melva Treviño Peña, Ph.D., Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island; Confronting Issues of (In)Justice in Environmental and Resource Governance; Play recording (1 hour, 6 minutes)

                                  Tuesday, April 20, 2021; 7:30 p.m.; Margaret Gibson; Connecticut State Poet Laureate, Prof. Emerita, UConn & David K. Leff; Poet, Lecturer, Former Deputy Commissioner of CT DEEP; Rousing the Ecological Imagination Through Poetry; Play recording (1 hour, 25 minutes)

                                  2020 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2019 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2018 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2017 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2016 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2015 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2014 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series

                                  2013 Coastal Perspectives Lecture Series