Sylvia Earle

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World-Renowned Oceanographer

Thought Leaders
Adventure & Exploration
Climate Change & Sustainability

Sylvia Earle: Biography at a Glance

  • Oceanographer, author, lecturer in more than 90 countries
  • Leader of more than 100 expeditions including over 7000 hours underwater
  • Experience in numerous government committees and commissions with appointments from three U. S. presidents; Chief Scientist of NOAA 1990-1992
  • Served on various boards of Fortune 500 boards and numerous non-profit institutions
  • Founder of three engineering companies and three non-profit organizations
  • Featured in hundreds of radio and film productions concerning ocean research, conservation and exploration
  • More than 150 national and international honors and awards




National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, 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, 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.

Former Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. 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 a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, 31 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.

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.


Dr. Earle gave a wonderful talk at our client conference. Her remarks were perfect pitch and beautifully delivered. Please thank her for an elegant and inspiring evening. We are all very grateful.

Partner, Generation Investment Management US LLP

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