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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872


Media Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

Bob Ballard to speak on the future of ocean exploration

Narragansett, R.I. -- October 30, 2002 -- The public is invited to attend the 13th annual Charles and Marie Fish Lecture in Oceanography hosted by the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). This year's lecture features famed oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, who joined the GSO faculty earlier this year and launched the URI Institute for Archaeological Oceanography. His talk will focus on "Ocean Exploration in the 21st Century." The free lecture will be held on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 11 a.m. in Corless Auditorium at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus.

Next July, Ballard, a 1974 GSO alumnus, and his research team will travel to the Black Sea and Mediterranean to oversee the first ever deep water excavation of ancient shipwrecks. Previous expeditions led by Ballard discovered vast numbers of amphorae and other artifacts, an extremely well preserved 1,500-year-old wooden ship from the Byzantine period, plus other similar shipwrecks and submerged archaeological sites that will be the focus of his July expedition.

Ballard has led or participated in more than 100 deep sea expeditions including the use of the deep-diving submersibles Alvin, Archimede, Trieste II, Turtle, Ben Franklin, Cyana, and NR-1. These expeditions involved the first manned exploration of the Mid-Ocean Ridge, the discovery of warm water springs and their unusual animal communities in the Galapagos Rift, the first discovery of polymetallic sulfides, the discovery of high temperature "black smokers," and the discovery of R.M.S.Titanic, the German battleship Bismarck, 11 warships from the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, and the U.S.S Yorktown, He has also explored the luxury liner Lusitania.

The annual Charles and Marie Fish Lecture in Oceanography is supported by income from the Charlie and Bobbie Fish Endowment for Oceanography, established in 1989 by Marilyn Fish Munro in memory of her parents.

An oceanographer who specialized in marine zooplankton, Charles J. Fish started URI’s first marine biological program as part of the Department of Zoology. His wife, Marie Poland Fish, well known for her pioneering work on the fish of Lake Erie, later became a world expert in marine acoustics. It was through their joint efforts that a graduate program in oceanography was established at the Narragansett Marine Laboratory, which later became URI's Graduate School of Oceanography.

Past presenters of the prestigious Fish Lecture include Sir Crispin Tickell, British permanent representative to the United Nations and the Security Council; Charles Alexander, senior editor at Time magazine; Dr. Sylvia Earle, advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Dr. Bruce Robison, senior scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; educator and naturalist Richard Wheeler; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Chief Scientist and former astronaut; Dr. Orrin Pilkey, Professor of Geology at Duke University; Dr. John Morrissey, president of the American Elasmobranch (shark and rays) Society; Dr. Carl Safina, founding director of the Audubon Society’s Living Oceans Program for marine conservation; Sandy Tolan, freelance journalist and independent radio producer; and Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover, a faculty member in the Biology Department at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and available on a first come-first serve basis. Call the URI Office of Marine Programs at (401) 874-6211 for more information or directions.

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