Sylvia Earle is entranced by algae and coral reefs, and has been at the forefront of ocean exploration for more than four decades. The winner of the 2009 TED Prize, she's a tireless advocate for our oceans.

Why you should listen

Sylvia Earle, called "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker, "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and a "Hero for the Planet" by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.

Earle has led more than 50 expeditions and clocked more than 7,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater in 1970, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, she walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. In the 1980s, she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies with engineer Graham Hawkes to design undersea vehicles that allow scientists to work at previously inaccessible depths. In the early 1990s, she served as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Earle speaks of our oceans with wonder and amazement, and calls them “the blue heart of the planet.” The winner of the 2009 TED Prize, she wished to ignite public support for marine protected areas, so that they cover 20% of the world's oceans by 2020.

What others say

“Dr. Earle’s passion extends to the far horizon … She has done pioneering research on algae, probed the ecology of coral reefs, set records for deep diving, tracked marine mammals and lobbied for the creation of marine sanctuaries.” — The New York Times

Sylvia Earle’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Sylvia Earle

Science

4 ways to get people to care about the ocean

November 17, 2015

Human beings have created a whole load of problems in the oceans. Sadly, though, they usually don’t want to hear about them. Last month, a group of ocean scientists and activists brainstormed ways to make the seas sound as amazing as they are. Check out new tools, studies and discoveries that could spark positive curiosity and empathy.

Continue reading