National Geographic Live: Extreme Cave Diving - Exploring the Bahamas' Blue Holes

Silva Concert Hall
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 7:30 pm
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Hult Presents

Kenny Broad, National Geographic’s Explorer of the Year for 2011, is also an accomplished cave explorer. He pursues this extreme and dangerous occupation not for sport, but to gain valuable insights into the freshwater world beneath our feet. A witty and entertaining speaker and committed scientist, Broad uses his research to study climate change and groundwater pollution to help better manage freshwater resources.

Largely unexplored, unimaginably beautiful, and considered among the most hazardous places to dive, the flooded caves, or “blue holes” of the Bahamas, are a potential treasure trove of scientific knowledge. Broad leads scientific expeditions to these dangerous but fascinating environments, making discoveries with implications for fields as diverse as microbiology, archaeology, and even astrophysics.

“Underwater caves may just look like dark, eerie holes, but they can be critical reservoirs of clean fresh drinking water and are integral to the health of the surrounding habitats,” says Broad. “Exploring these caves, the inner-space where the highly vulnerable freshwater and marine environments meet beneath our feet, allows me to combine my intellectual interests with my need for adventure; hopefully, in the process, helping to reduce the negative impacts on our natural resources.” Join him as he shares the adventure and science of exploring this incredible underwater world, as seen in the August 2010 issue of National Geographic.

About the speaker: Environmental anthropologist Dr. Kenny Broad has participated in extreme scientific and filmmaking expeditions on every continent—from studying cocaine distribution patterns to venomous snakes to the deepest caves on the planet—to gather information and samples that shed light on little known environmental and cultural subjects. He regularly collaborates with ecologists, climatologists, hydrologists, psychologists and a range of other strange ‘ologists’. Kenny led the Bahamas Blue Hole Project which appeared as a cover story in National Geographic, with photos from the late Wes Skiles, with whom he was awarded 2011 National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

He is a professor at the University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, is Director of UM’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and also Co-Directs the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University, where he received his PhD in 1999. He has published dozens of scientific articles on a range of topics. Broad is the recipient of the National Geographic 2006 Emerging Explorer Award and was elected a Fellow National of the Explorers Club in 2009 and a former member of the National Geographic Society Expedition Council Advisory Board. Broad also holds commercial and instrument helicopter pilot ratings and a US Coast Guard merchant marine license.

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