Dr. Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist who is has been dubbed “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker, recognized by the Library of Congress as “a Living Legend,” and named the first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine in 1998. Dr. Earle has pioneered research on marine ecosystems and has led more than 70 expeditions totaling more than 6,000 hours underwater. She holds numerous diving records.
Dr. Earle is founder of Mission Blue and the SEAlliance, Chair of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), and an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, a position she has held since 1998. She chairs the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute, and she led the Google Ocean Advisory Council, in development of the Ocean in Google Earth.
A former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr. Earle is author of nearly 200 scientific and popular publications and has lectured in more than 80 countries. Dr. Earle has focused much of her work on unique and significant places across the world’s oceans that need attention and protection – “hope spots,” as she has termed them – and that provide the underpinnings of a healthy planet.
Championing the U.S. national marine sanctuaries, Dr. Earle has played key roles in doubling the federal budget of marine sanctuaries in 1999, establishing the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2006, and highlighting sanctuaries as project director for Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a joint venture of NOAA and the National Geographic Society.
Dr. Earle’s national and international honors number in the hundreds, and include: NMSF’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2011 Royal Geographical Society’s Patrons Medal, the Dominican Republic’s 2011 Medal of Honor, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the International Women’s Forum, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, American Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, 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 has a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a master’s and doctorate from Duke University, as well as 22 honorary doctorate degrees.