Photo © by Becky Hale

Sylvia Earle

Recognized by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend, Dr. Earle is presently 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. She 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.

Dr. Earle has led more than 60 expeditions worldwide involving in excess of 7000 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 Megaborg. She led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970 and holds a depth record for solo diving (1000 meters). Author of more than 100 publications concerning marine science and technology including the books, Exploring the Deep Frontier, Sea Change (1995), Wild Ocean (1999) and The Atlas of the Ocean (2001), she has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Books written for Children include Coral Reefs, Hello Fish, Sea Critters, and the award winning Dive!

Honors and Awards include: 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 has been profiled for the National Geographic Explorer program (1987), Life Magazine (1987), The New Yorker (1989), New York Times Magazine (1991), Parade Magazine (1991), Tomorrow Magazine (1991), Scientific American (1992), Current Biographies (1972 and 1992), ABC TV 20/20 (1992, 1995), The Charlie Rose show (1993), The Lauren Hutton Show, CBS Sunday Morning (1995), TIME Magazine (1998), CNN (1998), USA Today (1999), People Magazine (2000), Pure Oxygen (2001), Vanity Fair (2002), TLC's Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden (2003), and CNN's Seeking Solutions with Suzanne (2003). Dr Earle has written a number of books about the oceans. Several have been published by the National Geographic Society.

The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's Are One
(National Geographic, 2010)

A Silent Spring for our era, this eloquent, urgent, fascinating book reveals how just 50 years of swift and dangerous oceanic change threatens the very existence of life on Earth. Legendary marine scientist Sylvia Earle portrays a planet teetering on the brink of irreversible environmental crisis.

In recent decades we’ve learned more about the ocean than in all previous human history combined. But, even as our knowledge has exploded, so too has our power to upset the delicate balance of this complex organism. Modern overexploitation has driven many species to the verge of extinction, from tiny but indispensable biota to magnificent creatures like tuna, swordfish, and great whales. Since the mid-20th century about half our coral reefs have died or suffered sharp decline; hundreds of oxygen-deprived "dead zones" blight our coastal waters; and toxic pollutants afflict every level of the food chain.

Fortunately, there is reason for hope, but what we do --or fail to do -- in the next ten years may well resonate for the next ten thousand. The ultimate goal, Earle argues passionately and persuasively, is to find responsible, renewable strategies that safeguard the natural systems that sustain us. The first step is to understand and act upon the wise message of this accessible, insightful, and compelling book.

Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans
(Ballantine Books, 1996)

Internationally renowned as the ambassador-at-large to the world's oceans, Sylvia Earle is an extraordinary woman--the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a distinguished marine biologist, a veteran of more than 6,000 hours underwater, the founder of an ocean engineering firm, and an eloquent advocate for marine conservation. Sea Change is at once the gripping adventure story of Earle's three decades of undersea exploration, an insider's introduction to the dynamic field of marine biology, and an urgent plea for the preservation of the world's fragile and rapidly deteriorating ocean ecosystems.

Earle takes us along on journeys to places of unimaginable beauty and unutterable destruction. She conjures up the exhilaration of swimming with humpback whales off the coast of Maui; she makes us comprehend the true environmental tragedy of the massive oil spills in Prince William Sound and the Persian Gulf; and she leads us out into Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the epitome of ocean wilderness but also the final resting place for tons of waste that drift in from thousands of miles away. This brilliant, thought-provoking, superbly readable book will inspire a new reverence for the majesty of the world's oceans even as it opens our eyes to the intricate interdependence of all life-forms.

Dive: My Adventures In the Deep Frontier
(National Geographic, 1999)

Underwater explorer and ambassador for the ocean Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, named a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine, is well known for inspiring young people with her enthusiasm for the sea and its inhabitants. Children will follow along as the author goes ever deeper into the unknown, walking the seafloor in a diving suit named Jim and cruising in her submersible, Deep Rover. Lavish photography, a timeline, glossary, and index round out this in-depth look at the deep frontier.

Sylvia Earle: Guardian of the Sea
(Lerner Publications, 2000)

Sylvia Earle, a foremost explorer, pioneer in sea study, and one of the staunchest defenders of the sea and its creatures, is well-served by this readable entry in the "Lerner Biography" series. When young, she was fascinated by animals and science in general, and her family's move to Florida presented her with just the opportunity to study the ocean firsthand. She began her career in marine science as a teenager when she learned to use diving gear and enrolled in a summer marine biology course at Florida State. Advanced degrees followed at a time when women scientists were so unusual that one faculty almost denied her a fellowship on the grounds that she would only end up becoming a housewife. Today's girls owe much to pioneers like Sylvia Earle for her steadfast forging of a career in science that was formerly thought of as men's territory. With over 6,000 diving hours logged, Earle lived under the ocean in the 1970s Tektite project and has studied all sorts of underwater creatures from algae to white whales. Her work with whales is chronicled in the film Gentle Giants of the Pacific, which has been shown in over 20 nations. Her desire to walk on the ocean floor led her to the "Jim suit", after which she and others developed the underwater explorer vehicle called Deep Rover.

Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas
(National Geographic, 2008)

Detailing a mysterious realm that’s as vital to our existence as the air we breathe, this new atlas immerses readers in the wonders of the deep through more than 250 up-to-the-minute maps, photographs, and satellite images. Deep-sea pioneer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia A. Earle (known as "Her Deepness") and marine scientist Linda K. Glover guide the adventure, in consultation with experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—who welcome the publication of a comprehensive ocean atlas geared to popular readers.

The accessible text lays out key concepts, points of interest, and little known facts, opening our eyes to living phenomena from giant squid to tiny microbial bodies. Astonishing full-color photographs and diagrams reveal the beauty and complexity of ocean life. Unprecedented new full spread maps of the ocean floor—hand-drawn by expert cartographers—reveal the five major oceans in astonishing details. An unequaled resource for both education and entertainment, Ocean also explores the progress of fascinating technologies that will help scientists discover uncharted regions and life-forms. In light of recent events—the tsunami of 2004, Katrina and Rita of 2005, the growth of the ozone hole—humankind’s link to the ocean is front and center in our lives today. This rich informative, and timely atlas, encourages understanding of how the ocean correlates with these happenings—and how human maintenance of its waters and creatures will keep the planet going.

Hello, Fish!: Visiting The Coral Reef
(National Geographic, 1999)

Famed oceanographer Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, who is called "Her Deepness" by the New York Times, shares her love of the sea in these factual, fun-filled observations of fish. Enchanting gobies pop out at the camera, jewel-like damselfish glimmer, a spotted stingray glides through the deep. Children will delight in greeting each fish as it's introduced. Large, close-up photographs by Wolcott Henry show each fish in its underwater home, and a map of the world's coral reefs is also included.

Sea Change

"What Rachel Carson was to insecticides, birds, and our planet in 1962, Sylvia Earle, scientist, explorer, oceanographer, diver extraordinaire, entrepreneur, and eternal romantic, is now to the ocean."
--The Boston Globe

"A moving plea for the preservation of the oceans . . . An adventure story and a tribute to all creatures great and small. Tragically, it is a eulogy, a Rachel Carson-like warning of the silent tide inexorably approaching."
--The New York Times Book Review

"With contagious enthusiasm, Earle provides exciting accounts of her deep-sea explorations. . . . Earle gives vivid descriptions of the dramatic sea changes, and she urges readers to be more respectful toward the oceans--for our own sake, if nothing else."
--The Seattle Times

"Compelling and alarming . . . In Sea Change, Earle discusses her love for the sea and its still considerable mysteries in a personal voice that rhapsodizes the topic while also instructing us in many of its subtleties and complexities."
--San Diego Union-Tribune

"A landmark book of tremendous importance, Sea Change is a masterful blend of meticulous scientific investigation and incredible adventure. Earle's prose is magnificent, her story utterly compelling. It conveys an urgent call to action, an appeal to every one of us who cares about the ocean world on which we are all, ultimately, dependent. After reading this book--and read it you must--you will never be quite the same."
--Dr. Jane Goodall

"A fascinating book--which is also an urgent warning about the damage we are doing to the global environment. Let us hope the world will listen to Earle's SOS--Save Our Seas--before it is too late.
--Arthur C. Clarke, CBE

"Sea Change sounds an alarm and offers hope. No one is better qualified than Sylvia Earle to give us this assessment of the greatest element of our biosphere."
--Hugh Downs

"An insightful account of the changes Earle has witnessed over the last several decades. Her almost spiritual respect for her subject is evident in her awe-filled writing. . . . At the last, she offers a blueprint for change, with suggestions for guaranteeing the survival of our seas. A must for anyone who shares her deep respect for the life and health of our planet."

"Unlike most people, Ms. Earle has seen nature in its most pristine state, before humans--the newcomers to this environment--have had a chance to interfere. She has seen the alarming consequences of exploitation and greed, and writes of them with a mix of scientific objectivity and a naturalist's passion."
--Baltimore Sun

Dive: My Adventures in the Deep Frontier

From Publishers Weekly
Marine biologist Earle (Sea Change) makes a compelling argument that the ocean, rather than space, is the next frontier waiting to be explored in this personable photoessay. In the opening chapter, Earle tells how her curiosity about what lives in the sea was first sparked and describes her delight at early underwater excursions using a snorkel and, later, scuba gear. Four subsequent chapters recount seminal events in Earle's career: studying whales in their natural habitats from Hawaii to Glacier Bay, Alaska; spending two weeks working as an "aquanaut" in the Tektite underwater laboratory, 50 feet below the surface of the ocean; sporting a special underwater diving suit called "Jim" (originally designed for salvage operations) to conduct research at 1250 feet; and helping to create Deep Rover, a mini-submarine able to descend to depths of 3000 feet. The book's final chapter, a plea for protecting the earth's oceans from becoming a dumping ground, is eloquent but does not flow naturally from the rest of the book. Earle writes with immediacy and specificity; readers will feel as if they are swimming along beside her as she forays into the ocean's darkest depths. Close-ups of a humpback whale's tail or a jellyfish illustrate points in the text; photographs like the one of Earle walking the sea floor off of the Bahama Islands in her "Jim" diving suit next to an American flag drive home her point that sea and space are equally worth exploring. Ages 8-up. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas

From Booklist
This oversize and eye-catching work is both educational and engaging. The introduction includes statements from NOAA and NASA, whose experts consulted on the book. In addition to the coauthors, more than 30 other named scientists and specialists contributed to the work, and their information is provided in a contributors’ list. The volume is arranged into three sections. Part 1 offers an overview of the ocean as a whole. A chapter on “Ocean Life” introduces readers to the vast wildlife living beneath the ocean surface. The second section presents five chapters, each devoted to a major ocean basin (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern). The final section is titled “The Human Ocean” and discusses new technologies, exploration, the impact of human actions on the oceans, and the future of the oceans. The chapter on ocean exploration presents information on techniques for both above-water and underwater observation as well as methods for study from air and space. The authors also discuss the critical importance of the health of the oceanic ecosystem to the rest of the world. More than 100 large, full-color maps, including five new maps that show details of the seafloor of the major ocean basins, accompany the text. Also included are more than 170 photographs and 36 illustrations, including satellite images, charts, and tables. The stunning illustrations come with detailed annotations that nicely complement the text. Three different kinds of margin elements are utilized: cross-references, seful Web links, and fact boxes, which summarize and clarify fundamental concepts. The volume concludes with a bibliography in addition to a subject index and a map place-name index. This would be a valuable reference tool for university, college, and high-school students and would also appeal to the casual browser. --Maren Ostergard

TEDTalks | How to protect the oceans (TED Prize winner)

Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean -- and shocking stats about its rapid decline -- as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.

Zeitgeist 2008 — The Google Partner Forum | September 17, 2008

Sylvia Earle talks about "Body 2.0"

Also be sure to visit the Sylvia Earle Alliance at Mission Blue for more detailed information on Dr. Earle, including events and appearances.