Kristi Ashley Collom is an MA student in the Animal Behavior and Conservation Biology program at Hunter College, currently evaluating critical habitats for Bottlenose dolphins () in the New York Bight and passive acoustic methods in Belize and Mexico. Since her inception to the Reiss lab in 2011, Kristi has assisted in various research ventures, most recently assisting on coastal and offshore aerial and acoustic surveys of marine mammals in Belize using drones and underwater microphones. With plans to pursue a doctorate in the similar vein, she aims to focus on the conservation and communication of marine mammals. At the American Museum of Natural History, you can find her inspiring young minds and fiddling with specimens.
Eric Angel Ramos is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Since, 2011, Eric has lead research trips with students and volunteers to study the behavior of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) at Turneffe Atoll in Belize as a member of Dr. Diana Reiss’ lab at Hunter College and a field scientist for Oceanic Society. His research has focused on the behavioral ecology, communication and conservation of marine mammals in Belize. During his master’s thesis research at Hunter College, Eric investigated the use of foraging-related calls by the small population of bottlenose dolphins at Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve (TAMR) in Belize, providing the first report of this acoustic call in dolphins and demonstrated its contextual use during bottom foraging by a subset of the population; work that is currently being submitted for publication. In collaboration with Dr. Magnasco at The Rockefeller University, he piloted the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for observing and tracking bottlenose dolphins and Antillean manatees to conduct studies on their communication and behavior in the wild.
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Join us for the evening as we welcome author Joseph A Williams as he discusses this latest novel "The Sunken Gold". A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History
After explosions from German mines rattled the ship, its hull further battered by huge swells and driving rain, the HMS Laurentic and its haul—44 tons of gold bullion meant to finance the Great War—sank to the ocean floor. The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History (Chicago Review Press, September 1, 2017) by Joseph A. Williams presents this century old retrieval mission with the daring secrecy that accompanied new underwater military missions.
Cinematic in scope, The Sunken Gold takes readers from the haunting coastline of Lough Swilly to the depths of the ocean to the great war halls of London. Here, the sea lords of the British Navy asked Lieutenant Commander Guybon Damant to recover the 3,211 bars of gold lost in the ruined hull of the Laurentic, the money meant as collateral in exchange for the arms and supplies from a still-neutral United States. As the unpredictable weather off the coast of Ireland drew the salvage into a multiyear struggle, Damant was called off to lead a covert diving team. The crew gathered crucial intelligence from sunken U-boats, searching for ciphers, minefield schematics and other secret documents that would aid the Allies in defeating German submarines. Years later, Damant returned to his long-deferred mission, steadfastly collecting 99 percent of the treasure thought lost to the sea.
Moments of humanity and touches of gentle humor accompany
Williams’s absolute and encyclopedic knowledge of diving techniques. Intriguing explanations of the developing practice of decompression, a revolution in deep-sea diving that both prevented the
symptomatic bends and saved lives, are matched by the ingenuity of the crew during their secret assignments. An intimate portrait of a pioneer in the field of diving, Commander Damant anchors the
story throughout the treasure hunting, espionage and warfare, as his determination and unending curiosity sustained the divers throughout their undercover salvage missions.
Joseph A. Williams is a librarian, archivist, and historian holding master’s degrees in American History and Library and Information Science from Queens College. He worked for several years as the head of the collections and assistant director of SUNY Maritime College’s Stephen B. Luce Library which specializes in nautical research. Currently, he is the Deputy Director of the Greenwich Library (CT).
Joseph has published in the fields of maritime history and librarianship including articles in scholarly journals, popular sea history magazines, trade publications, and chapters in anthologies. His work has also been presented at national and regional conferences and symposia. His first book, Four Years Before the Mast, is a history of SUNY Maritime College, the nation’s oldest maritime training school. His second book, Seventeen Fathoms Deep, is a narrative history concerning the 1927 submarine S-4 disaster. His third book, The Sunken Gold, is the story of the recovery of gold bullion aboard HMS “Laurentic” during and after the First World War.
Advance praise for The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I, Espionage, and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History
"A fascinating, meticulously researched, historical adventure of gold salvaged under impending doom of War and Wind." - Bernie Chowdhury, Author - The Last Dive
“Joseph A. Williams has uncovered one of the greatest stories of World War I, a tale of U-boats, lost treasure, and the tenacious diver determined to recover it at all costs. Simply put, this book is a real gem.” — James M. Scott, 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
“A wild and wooly tale of pressurized goats, black arts, and maritime gold, all beautifully told. Williams has a real gift for fleshing out the human story from arcane historical facts. I was taken by the whole thing, and devoured the whole of it in two thrill-filled nights.” —James Nestor, author of Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves
"Joseph Williams makes history come alive in his latest book, as though the readers are standing on the slanting decks of the sinking Laurentic. His thorough investigation into the aftermath that leads to the recovery of gold, deals with all the behind-the-scenes politics and advances in technology at that point in history. This book is a valuable resource on many fronts." —Michael Poirier, author of Into the Danger Zone: Sea Crossings of the First World War
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