Sylvia Earle 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

In Brief

An ambitious plan to explore our oceans, and more news from TED speakers

June 15, 2018

  The past few weeks have brimmed over with TED-related news. Below, some highlights. Exploring the ocean like never before. A school of ocean-loving TED speakers have teamed up to launch OceanX, an international initiative dedicated to discovering more of our oceans in an effort to “inspire a human connection to the sea.” The coalition […]

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