Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Monday, May 14
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1hr 59mins // directed by:Leonard Nimoy // featuring:William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley

It’s the 23rd century, and a mysterious space probe is evaporating Earth’s oceans and destroying the atmosphere.

The probe emits a message delivered in the song of long-extinct humpback whales. Unless the probe’s call is answered, Earth faces certain destruction. So Admiral Kirk (William Shatner), the Vulcan Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the rest of the Enterprise crew time-travel to 20th century Earth in their captured Klingon Bird of Prey starship to find humpback whales and bring them back to the future, in the hope that the whales will persuade the probe to stop its attacks. Landing in 1986 San Francisco – a world as alien as anything the crew has encountered in their travels through the galaxy – they split up. Kirk and Spock make their way to the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito, where Spock mind-melds with a pair of humpbacks under the care of marine biologist Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks) and Kirk tries to use his charm to enlist her help with their mission. Meanwhile, McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan) and Sulu (George Takei) seek materials to build a whale tank for the return trip, and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) look for a way to juice up the power-depleted Bird of Prey. Combining a strong whale conservation message with breezy humor, this Nimoy-directed Star Trek adventure earned four Oscar nods and remains one of the most popular films in the franchise.

Whale expert Dave Wiley has never done a mind meld, but he has been investigating the marine environment for more than 25 years. He joins us before the film to share new insights into the amazing underwater lives of humpback whales in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary based on synchronous motion acoustic recording tags (developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) and custom 3D & 4D visualizations (developed by the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean mapping). Among other things, Dr. Wiley will show us how humpback whales use an ingenious feeding strategy that involves expelling bubbles to encircle prey for easier capture.


About the Speaker

Dr. Dave Wiley is the Research Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, encompassing 842 square miles of ocean between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. His research has ranged from studying the reproductive and foraging ecology of endangered whales to mapping marine toxic/hazardous dumpsites. He has worked with fishermen to redesign fishing gear to reduce the risk of whale entanglement and pioneered methods to successfully rescue mass stranded whales and dolphins. His research led to the shifting of shipping lanes into the port of Boston as part of an international effort to reduce the risk of ship strike to endangered whales.

Dr. Wiley is the recipient of a Switzer Environmental Leadership Award, Gulf of Maine Visionary Award, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Human Hero Award and the Society for Marine Mammalogy’s award for Excellence in Scientific Communication. His research has been featured in numerous scientific journals as well as on the Discovery Channel, BBC documentaries, National Geographic, and National Public Television and Radio. In the recently published book Wildlife Heroes, he was profiled as one of the 40 top wildlife conservationists of our time. For more information on Dr. Wiley and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, visit: http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/welcome.html.