Dr. Sylvia Earle is a legendary marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations. She was the first woman to become chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc. (DOER). She is currently President and Chairman of Mission Blue and The Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEAlliance), Chair of the Advisory Councils of the Harte Research Institute and the Ocean in Google Earth, and part of Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, participating in nine saturation dives, and setting a record for solo diving in 1000 meters depth. She is 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.

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 Mission Blue, her focus is on developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean, “Hope Spots” to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change. Some Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection. Under Sylvia’s leadership, the Mission Blue team has embarked on a series of expeditions to shed light on these vital ecosystems and ignite support to safeguard them as marine protected areas.


Born: 1935

Hometown: Gibbstown, NJ

Education: Ph.D. in Botany

Occupation: Marine scientist

Expeditions: Led more than 100 expeditions, including the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Proiect in 1970

Favorite Place: Underwater

Best Discoveries: Every dive brings a new discovery!

Favorite Items In The Field: A submersible ship and flippers

Personal Hero: My mother, Alice Earle Hobbies: Taking care of the planet and planting trees

Books: Sylvia Earle (Chelsea House, 2004); The World is Blue, Sea Change Website: www.mission-blue.org

Advice: Curiosity is a wonderful trait in both young people and scientists. Never stop being curious and never be afraid to ask questions.

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