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Sylvia Earle          

Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic & Oceanographer; Former Chief Scientist of the NOAA

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is National Geographic's Explorer-in-Residence and formerly served as the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has been called “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker and The New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “First Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the Aspen High Seas Initiative, Divers Alert Network (DAN), Marine Conservation Institute, Earth Conservation Corps, One World One Ocean Foundation, Ocean Futures, Global Oceans (GO), and National Parks Trust.

Earle is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, chair of the Advisory Council of the Harte Research Institute, the Ocean in Google Earth, a founding Ocean Elder, and leader of the NGS Sustainable Seas Expeditions.

She has led more than 100 ocean research expedition, logged more than 7000 hours underwater, set a record for solo diving to 1000 meters, and led the first team of women aquanauts, living under the ocean during the Tektite Project in 1970 and in nine other saturation dives. Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation, and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments.

With SEAlliance and Mission Blue, she is committed to developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean, “Hope Spots,” to safeguard the living systems that provide stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.

Her more than 100 national and international honors include the 2019 Thomas Jefferson Civic Leadership Award, 2018 Seattle Aquarium Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017 UCSC Foundation Living Legend Medal, 2017 Trident ‘d Oro Award for Ocean Exploration, named an IUCN Icon of Nature, an Honorary Fellow of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, the 2013 National Geographic Hubbard Medal, 2013 French Legend of the Planet Medal, 2011 Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal, 1996 Explorers Club Medal, 2011 Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the U.S. Department of Interior Conservation Service Award, the International Women’s Forum, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, UN Global 500, UNESCO’s e-award and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, and the Society of Women Geographers.

Earle holds a bachelor's degree from Florida State University and a master's and Ph.D. from Duke University. Earle also has over 30 honorary degrees and has authored more than 200 scientific, technical, and popular publications, lectured in more than 90 countries, and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.

Speech Topics

The Quest for Sustainable Seas

Earle demonstrates how the ocean provides the underpinning of our economy, health, security, and the existence of life itself. Once thought to be infinitely resilient, the ocean is in trouble, and therefore, so are we. With equal parts warning and hope, she shows us how actions we take in the next ten years will matter more than what we do in the next one hundred years.


Sylvia Earle: 'Every time I go into the water, I see things I've never ...
Nov 2, 2022 ... At 87 years old, Sylvia Earle has no retirement plans. The celebrated oceanographer, who holds the world record for deepest untethered walk along the ...
#SeeHer Story Dives Into Life of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle ...
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle made a splash with her groundbreaking underwater explorations and dedication to protecting the ocean. Her passion to discover ...
A Profile Of The Remarkable Sylvia Earle For Women's History Month
I met the groundbreaking marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle when I was doing fieldwork at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in graduate school. She spoke about deep- ...
What record-setting oceanographer Sylvia Earle can teach us about ...
Marine biologist Sylvia Earle has been recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Living Legend,” named the first of Time magazine's “Heroes for the Planet,” ...

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