Susan Savage-Rumbaugh The gentle genius of bonobos
Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology — and how much by cultural exposure.
David Gallo Underwater astonishments
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This short talk celebrates the pioneering work of ocean explorers like Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon.
Sheila Patek The shrimp with a kick!
Biologist Sheila Patek talks about her work measuring the feeding strike of the mantis shrimp, one of the fastest movements in the animal world, using video cameras recording at 20,000 frames per second.
Mike deGruy Hooked by an octopus
Underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement — and his fears — about the blue heart of our planet.
Beverly + Dereck Joubert Life lessons from big cats
Beverly + Dereck Joubert live in the bush, filming and photographing lions and leopards in their natural habitat. With stunning footage (some never before seen), they discuss their personal relationships with these majestic animals — and their quest to save the big cats from human threats.
Tierney Thys Swim with the giant sunfish
Marine biologist Tierney Thys asks us to step into the water to visit the world of the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish. Basking, eating jellyfish and getting massages, this behemoth offers clues to life in the open sea.
Deborah Gordon The emergent genius of ant colonies
Deborah Gordon studies ant colonies in the Arizona desert to understand their complex social system. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business — and even multitask when they need to — with no language, memory or visible leadership? Her answers could lead to a better understanding of all complex systems, from the brain to the Web. Thanks, ants.
Sara Lewis The loves and lies of fireflies
Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It's not pretty.) Find out more astonishing facts about fireflies in Lewis' footnotes, below.