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Dr. Sylvia Earle

After receiving her phD from Duke, Dr. Earle started her career as a research fellow at Harvard, then to the resident directorship of the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, in Florida. In 1969 she applied to participate in the Tektite project. This venture, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Navy, the Department of the Interior and NASA allowed teams of scientists to live for weeks at a time in an enclosed habitat on the ocean floor fifty feet below the surface, off the Virgin Islands. The result was Tektite II, Mission 6, an all-female research expedition led by Dr. Earle herself. She began to write for National Geographic and to produce books and films. Besides trying to arouse greater public interest in the sea, she hoped to raise public awareness of the damage being done to our aquasphere by pollution and environmental degradation. In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any living human being before or since. She described this adventure in her 1980 book: Exploring the Deep Frontier. In the 1980s, along with engineer Graham Hawkes, she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies. In the early 1990s, Dr. Earle took a leave of absence from her companies to serve as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. There, among other duties, Sylvia Earle was responsible for monitoring the health of the nation's waters. In this capacity she also reported on the environmental damage wrought by Iraq's burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields. Today she is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. Dr. Earle is married and has three children.

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