A seamstress with boundless curiosity. A mother octopus with a baffling shell. When the lady and the octopus met, they reshaped marine biology, proving that females of both species were far more capable than they’d been given credit for at the time. Everyone is invited to join marine biologist, author, and artist Danna Joy Staaf at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s First Wednesdays event on March 1 at 7:00 p.m. to delve into this story, which is the focus of her new book The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology.
Staaf will share how nineteenth-century inventor and explorer Jeanne Villepreux-Power charted her own course in natural history, helping drive a significant shift in the field’s methodology. People had long debated whether these unusual octopuses make or steal the shells in which they brood their eggs. In the book, Staaf accounts how Villepreux-Power not only discovered the answer, but how it took years of corresponding and repeating her work until her findings were accepted. Staff will also discuss how Villepreux-Power’s story offers a window into both the history and the future of marine biology.
This presentation with Q&A will take place in the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater. Following the talk, attendees can mix and mingle during a cocktail/social hour with music, crafts, and gather for book signing. Cocktails and other beverages will be available for purchase in the Pacific Visions Art Gallery.
Staaf earned a PhD from Stanford University with studies of Humboldt squid. Her writing has appeared in Science, Atlas Obscura, and io9, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday. Her new book The Lady and the Octopus has received multiple starred reviews and made Booklist’s Top 10 History Books for Youth.
The Aquarium of the Pacific’s First Wednesdays Winter-Spring Season Series 2023 focuses on animals, nature and conservation efforts. The event brings scientists, authors, and other experts into its Honda Pacific Visions Theater for an illustrated talk paired with book signings or meet and greets with guest lecturers. The programs are best suited for high school and college students and adults of all ages. Presentations are also live streamed.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 1, 2023, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time
WHERE: Aquarium of the Pacific’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 / Presentation will be live streamed at aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/first_wednesdays/
COST: $5.00 per ticket for advance online reservations or $10.00 per ticket on the day of the event at the door (if available). Cash bar.
RSVP/INFO: (562) 590-3100 or aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/first_wednesdays/