Advisory Board

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D., 2 D.H.L.s, 10 D.Sc.s (h.c.), LL.D., FAAAS, called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.
Sylvia was chief scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1990–1992 and recently was instrumental in adding a new feature of displaying oceans in version 5.0 of Google Earth. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface.
She is founder of the Deep Search Foundation, Chairman of D O E R, and an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. In addition, she serves as an Honorary President for the Explorers Club, Executive Director for Global Marine Conservation for Conservation International, and Program Coordinator & Advisory Council Chair for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.
Sylvia is an adjunct scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), a director of Kerr-McGee Inc., a director for the Common Heritage Corporation, and serves on various boards, foundations, and committees relating to marine research, policy, and conservation. These include the World Resources Institute, World Environment Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Mote Marine Laboratory, Lindbergh Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council, and the Ocean Conservancy. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, Marine Technology Society, California Academy of Sciences, and World Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sylvia earned her B.S. degree from Florida State University (1955), M.S. and Ph.D. From Duke University (1956, 1966). She received the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters from the Monterey Institute (1990), Doctor of Science from the Ball State University (1991), Doctor of Science from Washington College (1992), Doctor of Science from Duke University (1993), Doctor of Science from Ripon College (1994), Doctor of Science from the University of Connecticut (1994), Doctor of Law from the University of Rhode Island (1996), Doctor of Science from Plymouth State College (1996), Doctor of Science from Simmons College (1997), Doctor of Science from Florida International University (1998), Doctor of Science from St. Norbert’s College (1998), Doctor of Science from Massachusetts Martime Academy (1999), and Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of San Diego (2004).
She was Curator of Phycology at the California Academy of Sciences (1979–1986) and a Research Associate at the University of California Berkeley (1969–1981), Radcliff Institute Scholar (1967–1969) and Research Fellow/Associate at Harvard University (1967–1981). From 1980 to 1984 she served on the President’s Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere (1980–1984). In 1990 she was appointed as Chief Scientist of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) where she served until 1992. In 1992 she founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (D O E R), to design, operate, support and consult on manned and robotic sub sea systems.
Sylvia has led more than 60 expeditions worldwide involving in excess of 7,000 hours underwater in connection with her research. From 1998 to 2002 she led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a five year program to study the National Marine Sanctuary System sponsored by the National Geographic Society and funded by the Goldman Foundation. An expert on the impact of oil spills, she was called upon to lead several research trips during the Gulf War and following the spills of the ships, Exxon Valdez and Mega Borg. She led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970. She holds a depth record for solo diving (1,000 meters).
Honors and Awards include: TED Prize 2009, The Wings Trust Award 2003, the Ding Darling Conservation Medal, 1999, the Barbie Ambassador of Dreams, 1999, the John M. Olguin Marine Environment Award, 1997, the Bal de la Mer Foundation Sea Keeper Award 1997, Julius B. Stratton Leadership Award, 1997, Marine Technology Society Compass Award 1997, Kilby Award 1997, Explorers Club Medal 1996, the Lindberg Award 1996, Boston Museum of Science Washburn Medal 1995, Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Allen Morgan Prize 1995, Directors Award of the Natural Resources Defense Council 1992, DEMA Hall of Fame Award 1991, Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement 1991, Radcliff College Alumnae Association Medal 1990, Society of Women Geographers Gold Medal 1990, New England Aquarium’s David B. Stone Medal 1989, Order of the Golden Ark by the Prince of the Netherlands 1981, Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award 1980, Los Angles Times Woman of the Year 1970, and the U.S. Department of Interior Conservation Service Award 1970. In October 2000, she was inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
She is the author of more than 125 publications concerning marine science and technology including the books Exploring the Deep Frontier: The Adventure of Man in the Sea (1980), Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans (1995), Wild Ocean: America’s Parks Under the Sea (1999), and Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas 2008. She has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical, and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Children’s books that she has written include Hello, Fish!: Visiting The Coral Reef, Sea Critters, and Dive!: My Adventures In the Deep Frontier, and Jump Into Science: Coral Reefs.
Watch the TED Talk Sylvia Earle: Here’s how to protect the blue heart of the planet. Watch Sylvia Earle, Dr. Sylvia Earle Presentation, Sylvia Earle National Geographic Explorer, Sylvia Earle In Depth Pt. 1, Sylvia Earle In Depth Pt. 2, Explore the Ocean in Google Earth 5.0, and Google Earth 5.0 – Launch Event. Read Ambassador for the World’s Oceans.