SharkCon 9 welcome LEA THOMPSON! Lea was in this year's feature film Jaws 3D, however she is best know for her role in the Back to the Future franchise. Other films for which she is known include All the Right Moves (1983), Red Dawn (1984), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), Dennis the Menace (1993) and The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). In the 1990s, she played the title character in the NBC sitcom Caroline in the City.
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SharkCon 9 welcome LOUIS GOSSETT JR. AKA Calvin Bouchard! Louis Gossett Jr. was the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as drill Sergeant Emil Foley in "An Officer and a Gentleman" , an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in the ABC series "Roots," a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Josephine Baker Story" and a Golden Globe for "An Officer and a Gentleman." His film debut was in the 1961 classic movie "A Raisin in the Sun". Other film credits include "The Deep," "Blue Chips," "Daddy's Little Girls," Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too?," "Firewalker," "Jaws-3D," "Enemy Mine" and "Iron Eagle" 1-4, among many others. Television credits include"tHE wATCHEMN", "Extant," "Madam Secretary," "Boardwalk Empire," "Family Guy" and "ER," among dozens of others.
*Steve will be appearing via Zoom.
To purchase Steve's new MEG: Legacy Collector's Set go to SteveAlten.com.
Steve Alten grew up in Philadelphia, earning his Doctorate of Education at Temple University. Struggling to support his family of five, he decided to pen a novel he had been thinking about for years. Working late nights and on weekends, he eventually finished MEG; A Novel of Deep Terror. MEG hit every major best-seller list, including #19 on the New York Times list (#7 audio).
Steve’s second release, The TRENCH (Meg sequel) was published by Kensington/Pinnacle in 1999 where it also hit best-seller status.
After being left at the altar twice (Hollywood Pics in 1998, New Line in 2007) Steve’s friend, producer Belle Avery optioned the dramatic rights to MEG in 2008. Ten years of hard work and tenacity later and The MEG opened on August 10, 2018 and quickly became the #1 move in the U.S. and the world. The sequel to The MEG 2: The Trench opens in theaters this summer!
Kelli is the Husbandry and Displays Curator at SEA LIFE Orlando. She manages a team of ten husbandry staff, who have a variety of experience and expertise in animals ranging from jellies to sharks! Kelli is also the Secretary and on the steering committee for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Marine Fish Taxon Advisory group and is on the steering committee for AZA SAFE Shark and Rays. Kelli is also the owner and artist at Dang Cute Fish.
Paul Coxx is CEO of the Shark Trust, a globally-active shark and ray conservation NGO, based in the UK. Paul has a special interest in communication for conservation: how to make talk matter for sharks. Paul is also vice program leader for the SAFE Sharks and Rays program as part of the Shark Trust’s commitment to collaboration for the benefit of conservation progress.
Dr. Tracy Fanara is an environmental engineer and research scientist with a BS, ME, and PhD from the University of Florida. Tracy has been recognized as an inspirational women in STEM by The Weather Channel, Xylem YSI, The Observer, The Gina Davis Foundation: If Then/She Can, Project Inspire, The National Science Leaders of America, and many other organizations, Universities and news outlets.
Tracy is a scientist and program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before joining NOAA, Tracy managed the Environmental Health research program at Mote Marine Laboratory. Tracy’s mission, Inspector Planet, answers the calls of the public on environmental and wildlife hazards to solve and explain causes and solutions. You may have seen her on The Weather Channel as an expert or on the show Weird Earth or on the Science Channel’s Mythbusters and What On Earth?
Hap Fatzinger is the Director at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) Sharks and Rays program leader. Hap’s focus is to inspire action from visitors to positively act on behalf of animals and habitats locally and globally.
Dr, David Gallo is an American oceanographer and explorer. He is the Senior Adviser for Strategic Initiatives at RMS Titanic Inc.. With more than 16 million views one of his TED presentations “Underwater Astonishments” has been among the all-time top TED Talks. In 2010 co-led an expedition to create the first detailed and comprehensive map of the RMS TITANIC. He has given numerous TED and TEDx presentations and has appeared in science documentaries (Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic). He has been an invited guest on many televised national and international news programs such as Face the Nation (CBS), Good Morning America (ABC), The Today Show (NBC), The Weather Channel, PBS, and MSNBC. David is a recipient of a Computerworld-Smithsonian Award, the Explorer’s Club Lowell Thomas Medal, and the Frances Hutchinson Medal of the Garden Clubs of America.
Dr. Stephen Godfrey is the Curator of Paleontology at Calvert Marine Museum. He is considered one of the foremost experts on the megalodon shark. He recieved his doctorate from the University of Toranto.
Dr. Mike Heithaus is dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education (CASE) and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University (FIU). He is a marine ecologist specializing in predator-prey interactions and the ecological importance of sharks and other large marine species. Heithaus was a scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research. He also worked with National Geographic's Remote Imaging Department where he conducted studies using their "Crittercam." Heithaus has been involved in the production of more than a dozen natural history documentaries, including two featured on Shark Week, and has hosted a National Geographic Channel television series.
Kenzie Horton is a M.S. student at Jacksonville University studying the fine-scale movements and space use of white sharks in their overwintering residency area from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico. She received her Bachelor of Marine Science degree from the University of South Florida in 2016, where she worked on an undergraduate thesis doing a comparative analysis of the epidermis and goblet cell abundance in four elasmobranch species. She is also currently working as a Fisheries Biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the Fisheries Independent Monitoring program to provide data on managed and non-managed fish and select macro-invertebrates.
Dr Gisele Montano Pedroso is currently a research associate at the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, focusing on in vitro embryo technologies in cetaceans, and is also a research consultant with Dolphin Adventure (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico). She is a member of the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine and the International Embryo Transfer Society. She is also working with OCEARCH to learn more about reproductive cycles of sharks.
Duncan and his team have worked throughout the world on various productions for major networks. If you are in need of a cohesive, highly skilled production team above and below the water look no further. We can also offer professional safety divers, skilled in full face mask safety protocols, shark work and underwater sound and lighting; as well as Marine Biologists and other qualified underwater and topside talent. Whatever your production needs. From fast paced boat based action to the depths of the Oceans, Duncan has a crew of highly experienced, skilled professionals that can complement any production above or below the water level.
Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou is an
Associate Professor and Marine Biologist. With close to 100 research publications, Papastamatiou is one of the world’s leading shark behavioral ecologists. Papastamatiou’s use of new tag technologies on species ranging from pelagic oceanic whitetips to home-ranging reef sharks has advanced the field of predator ecology and led to evidence-based marine protected area zoning. His work has appeared on National Geographic and BBC. A native of London, Papastamatiou has conducted research in California, Florida, Hawaii, South Africa and throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Pacific Ocean. He earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Yannis P. Papastamatiou is known for Naked Science (2004), World's Biggest Hammerhead? (2022) and Shark Week (1987).
Matt Seguin is the Curator of Husbandry and Records at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida. His primary duty is overseeing the health/husbandry of the fish and invertebrate collection. Matt works closely with the veterinary staff to maintain biosecurity within the aquarium, ensuring that all animals go through proper quarantine treatments before being added to the collection. He also serves as the registrar for the aquarium, securing proper permits and maintaining accurate physical and digital records of the animals in the collection. Outside of Mote, Matt is an Adjunct Professor at the Ringling College of Art and Design, teaching Environmental Science and Biodiversity.
Liz Thomas was already an animal trainer at SeaWorld when she got the opportunity to play herself as an animal trainer in Jaws 3D.
After the film, Liz continued to dedicate herself to the well-being, care, and training of orcas, dolphins and variety of other animals at SeaWorld in a career that lasted over 40 years.
Ryan Walton is a Professional Shark Diver, Brand Ambassador, Scuba Instructor, Athlete, Cameraman and Entreprneur. Ryan is a founder and partner at Shark Tours Florida
Upon becoming a Dive Instructor, Ryan realized how damaged, and how in danger our oceans are. After meeting fellow Conservationists, Ryan began his path to be an Underwater cameraman in hopes he could share the beauty of nature with those who may not get to see it.
Sean Westley is a researcher at The Whitney Marine Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. Sean considers himself a wetland ecologist as he works with many flora and fauna of these diverse ecotones. As a wetland ecologist Sean uses climate research in parallel with system biogeochemistry to study how coastal shark habitats are changing within our very own back yards. He hopes that build a cross discipline approach to create new metrics for conservation and restoration research around the globe. Sean works to build an understanding of the changing systems and how to better adapt to those futures because we all understand the importance of these coastal nursery grounds for all fishes.
Brent L. Winner (FL FWC/FWRI, Associate Research Scientist)
“All men are drawn to the sea, perilous though it may be.” This rings true for Brent Winner! Having grown up in a small Iowa farm town, his fascination for sharks and the sea began at a very early age and led him on a lifetime journey of scientific study and research. He received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Iowa State University and his master’s degree in marine biology specializing in sharks, from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Brent has been a fisheries scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for over 33 years. He has caught, studied, and published scientific papers on a variety of Florida fish species including red drum, snook, sheepshead, snappers, groupers, sharks, and rays. He has served on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Shark Technical Committee for the past 20 years. Brent has participated in cooperative shark studies, including numerous research cruises with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Brent has worked with local and national media on shark and ray issues throughout his career and has appeared twice on the Animal Planet’s show Untamed and Uncut.
Vicky Vásquez was raised in San Diego by a Mexican-American mom and a Venezuelan dad, which meant family reunions allowed her to explore different oceans and even remote locations growing up. Her passion to explore the unknown has led to a career researching deep sea sharks and achieve exciting scientific firsts such as the discovery of the Ninja Lanternshark (Etmopterus benchleyi) and tagging Goblin Sharks (Mitsukurina owstoni). Vicky also dedicates a significant portion of her time to science communication through both in-person and online outreach. In particular, she works with students from low-socioeconomic Spanish speaking neighborhoods. But you don’t have to be from California to hear Vicky talk about sharks! As a Shark Week alum, you may recognize her from Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins, Rogue Tiger Shark: Hunt for Lagertha, Island of the Walking Shark, Shark After Dark, and as a commentator for other episodes. She’s also been featured on CBS’s Mission Unstoppable, several documentaries, YouTube series and podcasts. Vicky has a B.S. in Evolution & Ecology with two minors, in Psychology and in Arts from the University of California, Davis where she also studied for a semester at their Bodega Bay Marine Lab. She also has a Masters in Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories through her research with the Pacific Shark Research Center. She also worked for a number of nonprofits focused on marine science education such as the Marine Science Institute, Ocean Discovery Institute, and continues through consulting services. Combining all of her expertise Vicky is embarking on a new sharky project that she’s planning to reveal for the FIRST TIME at Shark Con!