Ages: Recommended for 16+
An accomplished competitive spear fisher, Valerie Taylor AM traded in her gun for a camera and has never looked back. Together with her late husband Ron, she has documented the plight of some of the world’s most maligned and misunderstood creatures and dedicated her life to the conservation of the world’s dwindling shark species. Her adventures have taken her to the glamour of Hollywood and the darkest depths of the deep blue sea.
Enjoy a drink and canapes on arrival before hearing from Valerie in conversation with Australian Museum Chief Scientist, Professor Kris Helgen.
Following the talk, explore the AM’s Sharks exhibition where a dedicated Shark scientist will share their research and be on hand to answer your questions.
Valerie Taylor AM
Valerie Taylor has spent over 62 years as a diver and, along with her husband Ron, has helped open the world’s eyes to the wonders of marine life, and specifically sharks. Their fascination with oceans and the animals within them, began with a successful career as competitive spearfishers. However, as they learnt more about the complexities of marine life, they decided to turn their focus to filmmaking and research.
The Taylors travelled the world, becoming some of the most renowned marine photographers and filmmakers. Their footage has been used across television and the big screen, including the famous live sequences in JAWS. Their research shone on a light on the alarming decline in marine animals and led to greater awareness and action in marine conversation around the globe. In 1986 Valerie was appointed Rider of the Order of the Golden Ark for marine conservation by his Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. In 1992 the Taylors were awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Adventure of the Year Award and in 2003 were made Members of the Order of Australia for their conservation efforts.
Professor Kris Helgen
Professor Kristofer M. Helgen is Chief Scientist and Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), as of June 2020. Kris has an outstanding global track-record and has conducted research in more than 50 countries documenting some 100 previously overlooked species of living mammals.
He has a deep understanding of museums and museum collections, and experience leading major expeditions around the world. A dedicated public communicator in support of biodiversity conservation, Prof Helgen’s expeditions and discoveries have been featured in two major documentary series by the BBC Natural History Unit and are regularly profiled in the media.
Patrick Burke is a shark biologist who has been studying sharks for almost a decade. Currently undertaking a PhD at Macquarie University, his research involves a mix of work in the field and in the laboratory to better understand the ecology of one of Australia’s most bizarre sharks, the sawshark.
This covers satellite tagging to better understand where and why these sharks move around Australia, cutting edge biochemical work to understand what they eat and how they fit into their food chain, and analysing their visual systems to try to understand what the world really looks like to a sawshark.
Sharks is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Blockbuster Funding initiative.
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