A recent piece by Nightline on ABC News

Burba Family Keynote Lecture — “Challenges facing marine ecosystems”

sylvia earleNational Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, 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, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Futures.

Formerly Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. Earle is the Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., Founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, Chair of the Advisory Council of the Harte Research Institute, the Ocean in Google Earth, and leader of the NGS Sustainable Seas Expeditions.  She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, 22 honorary degrees and has authored more than 190 scientific, technical and popular publications, lectured in more than 70 countries, and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.

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 ten saturation dives, most recently in July, 2012, and setting a record for solo diving in 1000 meters depth. 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.

Her special 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.Sylvia Earle

Her more than 100 national and international honors include the 2011 Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal,  2011 Medal of Honor from the Domincan Republic, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the International Women’s Forum,  the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year,  UN Global 500,  and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, and the Society of Women Geographers.