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Sylvia Earle    

Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence, 2009 TED Prize Winner

Called "Her Deepness" by The New Yorker and The New York Times, and the "Carl Sagan of our Oceans" by USA Today, Dr. Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist, author, lecturer, scientific consultant, co-founder, and director of Deep Ocean Engineering, Inc., and president of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc. Earle's impressive list of accomplishments is enhanced by her genuine love for the ocean, exploration, and science in general. She is the most important and active advocate for the research and protection of one of our most precious and largely unexplored frontiers-our seas. Formerly the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earle is an Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic. She also serves as the first woman honorary president of The Explorer's Club in 96 years.

Earle's presence and impact at National Geographic has been remarkable, where in less than 12 months she created and gathered funding for the Sustainable Seas Expedition. The SSE explores and researches 12 National Marine Sanctuaries that surround the North American continent, working to increase U.S. and international recognition and caring for the oceans by the public, policy-makers, and institutions. The project also seeks to increase the nation's ability to conserve the natural and cultural resources of the oceans and establish the utility of new submersibles, which will allow for advanced exploration and research. In keeping with the commitment to further involve the public in caring for our oceans, schoolchildren and teachers will be able to follow these missions on the Internet and interact, while those who are near the sanctuaries during the expeditions will find hands-on ways to participate.

Earle made her first dive in 1952 at the age of 16, in the Weekiwatchee River in Florida. She wore a borrowed copper diving helmet and breathed air pumped through a hose by a compressor. Twelve years later, when Earle was preparing for her doctorate in marine botany at Duke University, she was invited to join a six-week expedition aboard Harry Truman's old presidential yacht. She was the only woman among 70 men and quickly learned the necessity and power of self-sufficiency and a good sense of humor. Six years later, she found herself part of a group of five women unexpectedly allowed to participate in the NASA aquanaut program called Tektite II. The two weeks Earle spent in the 50-foot deep underwater habitat changed her view of the ocean forever and further inspired her to "go deeper." In 1985, she made a daring solo descent to 3,000 feet in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of San Diego. Earle still holds the record for the deepest untethered solo dive and has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving an excess of 6000 hours underwater.

Recognized by the Library of Congress as a "Living Legend" and recently inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, she is the author of more than 100 publications concerning marine science and technology, including the books, Sea Change (1995) and Wild Ocean (1999). She has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical, and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Her books for children include Hello Fish; Sea Critters; and Dive!; a winner of five awards for excellence.

Her company, Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, continues to design advanced systems for submersibles, ultimately making the diving machines more accessible to the public. "With knowing comes caring," says Earle, "and with caring there is the hope that we will find a place for ourselves within the natural systems that sustain us."

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's Life and Mission on Screen in “Mission Blue” – News ...

The film follows National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle from her early days as a record-setting diver and oceanographer, to her current ...

Sylvia Earle's 'Mission Blue' Arrives on Netflix Today – News Watch

Sylvia Earle watchs a squid in a time before our full impact on the ocean was clear. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Earle and Hope Spots Company Inc.) The Origin of ...

Deep Sea Exploration (Full Session)

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