Changing Seas - Season 6 Premiere

June 18, 2014
8:00pm Eastern Time
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Changing Seas premieres it's sixth season with two brand new back-to-back episodes, "Living Fossils" and "Biggest Fish in the Sea" on June 18th at 8pm. Join this special screening of the episodes where you can chat live with experts featured in the show.

Living Fossils: In the deep, dark waters off the coast of Roatan, Honduras, strange flowerlike animals flourish. These sea lilies and feather stars, known as Crinoids, have been around in various forms since before the age of Dinosaurs. Now experts descend into the deep to study the animals from a submersible.

Biggest Fish in the Sea: Each summer, the world's largest known aggregation of whale sharks occurs just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, attracting tourists and scientists alike. Hundreds of these gentle giants come to the area to feed on plankton, giving experts the opportunity to learn more about the largest fish in the sea.

Continue the conversation on Twitter! @changingseas #csevent


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Video Description

Changing Seas - "Living Fossils" and "Biggest Fish in the Sea"

58min 57sec


  • Alexa Elliott

    Despite the fact that she is prone to seasickness, Alexa Elliott loves to scuba-dive and spend time on the water. So when she was asked to develop a new science series for WPBT2, she jumped on the opportunity to cover some of the exciting ocean research that is conducted in Florida and the Caribbean. Alexa has worked in public broadcasting since 1996, both in public radio news as well as in television production. She has produced television programs of various genres, but nature, science and environmental programming have always been her favorite. Alexa has received numerous awards for her work, including the prestigious Communication Award presented by the National Academy of Sciences, regional Emmy Awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, and an award from the Society of Environmental Journalists. She has two degrees in Broadcast Journalism – a BA from Morehead State University and a MA from the University of Florida.

  • Alexa Elliott

  • Julie Hollenbeck

  • Alexa Elliott


  • Chuck Messing, Ph.D.

    “Most taxa of living crinoids-sea lilies and feather stars-were described before the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology was introduced in the mid-20th century. As a result, many named taxa (chiefly species and genera) are poorly diagnosed and understood. I have a strong interest in clarifying the systematic status and evolutionary relationships of living crinoids, as well as better understanding their ecology and distributions. My other primary area of research interest is in understanding distributional patterns and ecology of deep-water benthic invertebrate assemblages (e.g., corals, octocorals, echinoderms, sponges) associated with hard substrates at low latitudes, particularly as they relate to hydrodynamic conditions and biogeographic boundaries. In addition, I maintain an abiding interest in the ecology and phylogeny of invertebrates in general.”

  • Forest Gahn, Ph.D.

    “My research draws upon fossil echinoderms, especially crinoids, as a medium for testing hypotheses of evolution and ecology. Adhering to a philosophy that "to understand fossils best one must know them in the rocks" (Crinoidea Flexibilia, Springer 1920), I dedicate much time to fieldwork. In particular, I make every effort to bolster my research with field data, paying careful attention to the sequence stratigraphic and environmental framework of fossil occurrences. Such experiences glean taphonomic and relative abundance data that are not often available in publications and museum collections. Moreover, I prefer specimen- and field-based strategies to data generation over literature-based approaches. I have great respect for literature-based science, but I prefer to press forward at the paleontological frontline, making fresh observations and generating original data.”

  • Tomasz Baumiller, Ph.D.

    “My research bridges the gap between ecological and evolutionary time scales: I study how organisms interact with their physical and biotic environment, and explore the ecological and evolutionary consequences of these interactions. Crinoids are my favorite subjects, in part because modern representatives can be studied in situ and in the lab, and the group has a rich and long fossil record.”

  • Karl Stanley

    “Captain Karl Stanley has spent over two-thirds of his life pursuing his desire to explore the planet’s “final frontier”. He has designed and built two deep-diving submersibles which he has piloted in three different countries. At the age of 24, he began his career taking expeditions down to 700 feet off Roatan, Honduras. Karl has recorded over 1350 dives ranging from 500 to 2660 feet underwater and each lasting from a few hours up to seventeen hours at a time. He has logged over 3000 hours of experience piloting a deep submersible, which is more than all but a handful of people in history have managed to accumulate.”

  • Alistair Dove, Ph.D.

    “As Director of Research and Conservation, Dr. Dove is responsible for carrying out research activities for Georgia Aquarium and administering collaborative research with our partner institutions; he is the current chair of the Research Committee. Dr. Dove joined the Aquarium team in 2006. His research interests continue on the theme of “health in aquatic animals”, with a current focus on parasites of marine life and the biology of whale sharks. Since 1994, he has been awarded eight research grants and has published 38 scientific articles on topics ranging from parasite ecology, invertebrate diseases, taxonomy and the biological impacts of climate change. He is an active participant in the scientific community, holding committee positions for the American Fisheries Society and the American Society of Parasitologists and maintaining active collaborations with scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and University of Georgia.”

  • Jacob Levenson, Ph.D.

    “I think different. I’m a creative problem solver. I work to protect marine animals, special ocean places and the planet we all depend on. I am a consultant, scientist, sailor, advocate and educator.”

  • Rafael de la Parra

    “Mexican marine biologist, former research coordinator of Domino Project, while studying and managing whale shark activities since 2004. Mexican Caribbean Marine Mammal Stranding Network general coordinator. Touristic operator since 1988: sport fishing (tag and release of billfish), sport Scuba diver instructor, trainer and workshop coordinator on coral reefs, mangrove, manatee, crocodile and coastal lagoon topics. Trainer of trainers on Environmental Education Diplomat at Cozumel 2006-2007. Participated in Symposia, Conferences, Congresses in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Panama, United States, Cuba and Mexico. Published works on coral reefs, coastal lagoon, marine mammals and whale sharks.”

  • Timothy Read, Ph.D.

    "My research interests center around the application of genomics technologies to understanding infectious diseases. In particular, I am interested in trying to frame the questions that only become possible to answer as new and even better instruments for generating DNA sequence information come online. Genomics for infectious disease detection and clinical diagnosis. The rapidly decreasing cost of sequencing offers the opportunity in the near future to rapidly acquire large portions of the genome sequence of pathogens, either from DNA extracted from pure cultures or directly from clinical samples (metagenomics). I am interested in applying new technologies to determine their limits of sensitivity and to develop software to extract clinically useful information from the sequence data."

  • Tauqeer Alam, Ph.D.

    "I received my Ph.D in Molecular Parasitology from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India where I studied Plasmodium vivax tryptophan-rich antigen gene family and their potential as a malaria vaccine candidate. Soon after graduating I received an American Society for Microbiology (ASM)-Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. At CDC, my research was focused on investigating the origins and evolution of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite responsible for more than 600,000 deaths worldwide. My research has contributed significantly in understanding the origins and spread of sulfadoxine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in the Thailand-Cambodia region of Southeast Asia. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Read at the Emory University School of Medicine. I use whole genome sequencing, bioinformatics and comparative genomics approaches to study the evolution of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial pathogen responsible for a variety of hospital and community-associated infections. I also work on the Whale Shark genome sequencing project, a collaborative effort between Dr. Read’s laboratory and the Georgia Aquarium. I am applying high-throughput genomic tools to investigate the Whale Shark genome and address key questions related to the biology, size, metabolism, adaptation and immune system of the largest fish in the world."

  • Sean Hickey

    Emmy award-winning editor Sean Hickey traded in his snow skis for scuba fins when he moved to Miami from New Hampshire in 1990. After graduating from Barry University with a BA degree in Sports Management, Hickey honed his skills as an underwater videographer and editor while working aboard a South Florida charter boat as a scuba diving instructor. Hickey came to WPBT2 in 1997 where his skills as a videographer and editor would propel him from freelance audio assist to a full time staff position within two years. Hickey worked on the award winning series New Florida, Wild Florida and Florida Roadtrip and has been awarded Emmys for his work on Anatomy of a Hurricane, Wild Florida and La Cuba Eterna con Enrique Chia. Hickey’s passion for the ocean and his diving experience will no doubt add to the excitement of this new series. Sean and his wife Debbie enjoy spending time with their cat Jake and their three dogs Simon, Sebastian and Harley.

  • Allan Farrell

    After a family trip to Mexico at age eight, Allan Farrell’s parents were surprised at the caliber of pictures he had taken when given the opportunity to get his hands on a real camera. He started at WPBT2 in 1979 as a production assistant and quickly progressed to associate producer. He then switched to cinematographer when a position opened and shot and edited with standard film for a brief period before the station converted over to video. Over the years, Allan has worked on numerous special projects; including the documentary series Common Ground, nationally broadcast Décor, Lady of the Glades and other award winning documentaries. Work with Comtel, WPBT2’s commercial arm, has included shooting for ESPN, Ford, promotional footage for Burt Reynolds and more. He has done aerial work from hot air balloons, helicopters, even a B-17 bomber. A certified scuba diver since age 16, Allan has worked on many underwater shoots, including shooting inside the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory, NOAA’s Aquarius. As an adjunct instructor at Palm Beach Community College, he has been teaching Editing and Post Production for the past ten years. Allan has won multiple Emmy Awards, a Telly award, as well as First Place in The Florida Bar, 28th Annual Media Awards.

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