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David Doubilet  

National Geographic Photographer & Founding Member of the International League of Conservation Photographers

David Doubilet has been called the Audubon of the sea, a master craftsman who combines technology and art to create extravagantly beautiful photographs of coral reefs, shipwrecks, or sharks to make us see the oceans in a new way. Born in New York in 1946, David first put his Brownie Hawkeye camera in a rubber anesthesiologist’s bag at the age of 12. He has spent over 26,000 hours in the sea creating a window into the hidden world beneath the surface. Today, with over 75 features under his belt, he is the most published photographer working for National Geographic.

David enters the sea as a journalist, artist, and explorer to document both the beauty and the devastation in our oceans. He believes that photography has the power to educate, honor, humiliate, illuminate, and influence change.

Exploring the world's waters, David has photographed in the depths of such places as the southwest Pacific, New Zealand, and Scotland, as well as freshwater ecosystems like Botswana's Okavango Delta and Canada's St. Lawrence River. He has photographed stingrays, sponges, and sleeping sharks in the Caribbean, as well as shipwrecks at Pearl Harbor. He is currently documenting the state of coral and climate change, including science and solutions.

He frequently works for National Geographic with his wife and fellow underwater photographer Jennifer Hayes, sharing the highs and lows of the job, from exploding batteries and malaria to luminous coral reefs.

David is a featured speaker for the National Geographic Live! series, a columnist, contributing editor and author of 12 books, including Light in the Sea, The Kingdom of Coral, and Fish Face. His many prestigious awards include The Academy of Achievement Award and The Lennart Nilsson Award in Scientific Photography. One of his photographs of coral reefs was even sent into space with the Voyager Mission. He was named a Contributing Photographer-in-Residence at the National Geographic and a NOGI Fellow. David is a member of both the Royal Photographic Society and International Diving Hall of Fame, and is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

David and Jennifer live in Clayton, New York.

Speech Topics


Coral Kingdoms

The ocean covers 70 percent of our planet and yet remains an unknown and fragile frontier. The coral triangle includes tropical marine waters of Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Indonesia, and explodes with insane diversity. The Great Barrier Reef, the largest living reef on Earth, stretches 1800 miles. And Cuba’s reefs thrive due to political isolation. Artificial reefs are constructed where there are none. All around the world, reefs are teeming cities of biodiversity with layers of life that range from the tiniest coral polyp to apex predators that are now under threat due to global climate change and overfishing.

Australia: Under Down Under

Australia is surrounded by an unseen continent of marine life. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure on Earth created by a living creature, and is home to rich remote reefs, mysterious shipwrecks, and the largest green sea turtle nesting grounds in the world. Saltwater crocs and the deadly box jellyfish patrol the northern waters of Cape York Peninsula. Her southern coasts are the great white’s proving grounds. And further southward, Tasmania’s waters teem with creatures that defy imagination.

Secret Underwater Edens

Water is the single most valuable commodity on Earth—and Doubilet’s greatest passion. Take a visual journey into seldom-visited secret edens that exist on this planet. Submerge into the beating heart of the Pacific coral triangle, temperate kelp forests attended by dragons, kingdoms of ice with penguins and leopard seals, and the secret freshwater eden of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a delicate and dangerous world of lily gardens filled with Nile crocodiles and unhappy hippos.

Vanishing Seas: Too Big to Fail?

After 70 National Geographic stories and 40 years in the sea, Doubilet has served as a witness to the changes taking place there. He has spent thousands of hours on coral reefs, has photographed the great migrations of sea life such as sea turtles, freshwater eels, and the the South African sardine run, and has explored the rich temperate and cold seas. Experience a time line in the sea—the great pulses of life and how they are now at risk.

A Shark’s Story… or Sharks, the Reality

Join Doubilet as he introduces the secret worlds of sharks around the globe, and shares the triumphs and tragedies of these great creatures that dominate our seas. Sea Monsters, Real and Imagined Meet the deadly box jellyfish, the poisonous blue-ringed octopus, and other dangerous creatures in the sea. Doubilet invites audiences to spend a day in his office—with top predators such as crocodiles, sharks, and toothy leopard seals. Discover the unique survival strategies of many animals that look scary, but are not. Appropriate for student or family audiences.

Seduced by the Sea

Doubilet presents a visual retrospective of a life spent in the sea, focusing on the absolute beauty of the world below.

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