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Dr Sylvia Earle (born August 30,1935) is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Dr Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998.
In 1979, she made an open-ocean dive to the sea floor near Oahu setting a women's depth record of 381 metres. In 1982 she and her husband founded Deep Ocean Engineering to design, operate, support and consult on piloted and robotic subsea systems. In 1985, the Deep Ocean Engineering team designed and built the Deep Rover research submarine, which operates down to 1,000 metres. In 1992, Earle founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research to further advance marine engineering.
From 1998 to 2002 Dr Earle led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a five-year program sponsored by the National Geographic Society. She founded Mission Blue (also known as the Sylvia Earle Alliance, Deep Search Foundation, and Deep Search), a non-profit foundation for protecting and exploring the Earth's oceans, and to “ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet”.
Dr Earle serves on several boards, and is the recipient of several US and international awards and recognitions.