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Douglas McCauley    

Professor at UC Santa Barbara, Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley & Director Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory

Douglas McCauley is a Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and an Adjunct Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He directs the Director of the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory – a center that combines cutting edge ocean research with innovative tech to solve the ocean’s most pressing challenges. This solutions portfolio ranges from shark spotting drones to whale collision avoidance systems. McCauley’s first job on the ocean was working as a fisherman, before tuning his talents to save the seas.

Prof. McCauley is a Sloan Research Fellow in the Ocean Sciences and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action. He was named a “Human of the Year” by Vice Media and a “Climate Visionary” by the Washington Post.

McCauley has spent thousands of hours underwater studying the seas. His research expeditions have taken him to some of the most remote parts of our ocean. His stories of science are interwoven with close encounters with curious sharks, nights spent uncovering the secret lives of manta rays, and unforgettable underwater moments with endangered whales. Prof. McCauley is a sought after speaker whose past engagements include addresses at venues such as Davos, the United Nations, Salesforce, Google, National Geographic, the Economist World Ocean Summit, Harvard University, and Stanford University.

Research by Dr. McCauley has been published in leading research journals such as Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA and has been featured in outlets such as the New York Times, BBC, TIME, and US National Public Radio.

Prof. McCauley has degrees in political science and biology from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Biology from Stanford. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley.

Speech Topics

The future of our Ocean

McCauley starts by taking us back in history to learn how our relationship with the sea has shaped both us and our planet. The ocean has given us food, breath, health, jobs, and inspiration. But we’ve not returned these favors. And now something else is changing in the ocean. An explosion of new human industry from ocean farming to the construction of ocean cities could make life off our coasts almost unrecognizable in the next century. Climate change is altering almost every facet imaginable about life in the seas. But there is yet much hope. New kinds of ocean technology and strong ocean leadership can together create a brighter future for our Ocean. McCauley intermixes facts about ocean life, with examples of ocean tech solutions he and his team have built - from shark-sensing drones to innovation designed to solve the plastic pollution crisis. Blended into with the science are inspiring stories of encounters with sharks, whales, sea turtles, rickety fishing boats, and ocean heroes – young and old – from his research expeditions. A story of ocean optimism that in many ways is our own story.

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