Lecture: Dolphin Politics in Shark Bay

Dr. Richard Connor’s lecture brought attendees ‘onboard’ for 30 years of incredible dolphin discoveries.

Lecture: Dolphin Politics in Shark Bay

By Richard Connor

Thursday, April 4, 2019
Cook Memorial Theater
6:00 pm Reception  |  6:30 pm Lecture

Tickets: Members $10  |  Non-members $15

Dolphins have the most complex non-human society on the planet. Females use sponge ‘tools’ to fish and males form multi-level “political” alliances.

Dr. Connor’s lecture brought attendees ‘onboard’ for 30 years of incredible dolphin discoveries and previewed, The Dolphin Decade, to be launched in 2020, which promises to be the most ambitious and exciting study of a wild dolphin society in history.

In 1982, having just completed his undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, Richard Connor’s search for a place to study wild dolphins led him to the other side of the planet. There, on the west coast of Australia, he hitch-hiked 500 miles from Perth to Shark Bay, to visit a beach, “Monkey Mia,” where several dolphins visited daily to accept fish from people. As luck would have it, Shark Bay turned out to be the “Rosetta Stone” for understanding dolphin intelligence in the wild.

Lecture is also available on YouTube.

Dr. Richard Connor received his BA in Biology from the UC Santa Cruz in 1982 and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1990.

Following post-doctoral stints at Harvard, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Michigan and The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), he moved to UMASS-Dartmouth in 1996 where he is a professor of Biology. He has authored more than 80 scientific articles on dolphin behavior and the evolution of cooperation and mutualism, co-edited the 2000 volume Cetacean Societies, and published two books, The Lives of Whales in Dolphins (with Dawn Micklewaith Peterson, 1994) and Dolphin Politics in Shark Bay: a Journey of Discovery (2018). Dr. Connor’s dolphin research has been featured in numerous print media, including the New York Times, and in television documentaries such as NOVA and National Geographic Television.