Dr. Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy® Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the
Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorers Club Medal, the Royal Geographic Society 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 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 1,000 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 marine protected areas, “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.
Conservation and preservation of the ocean environment have been the guiding principles of Michael AW’s professional life for over 30 years. As an author, explorer and photographer he has become the recipient of over 65 international awards for his work. Michael’s photographs and essays have been featured in publications such as BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, Nature, Ocean Geographic, Asian Geographic, Nature Focus, Times and Discovery among others. Outdoor Photography named Michael one of the 40 most influential nature photographers on the planet and he has been the principal author of 31 books as well as a contributing author and/or photographer in 11 others. In addition, he has been a principal consultant for dozens of marine projects and has published a variety of instructional diving programs for NAUI. Michael AW is project director for the groundbreaking work Elysium Epic. This highly ambitious undertaking began in 2011 with a 57-member international team that travelled to the Antarctic retracing the
steps of Ernest Shakleton’s famous 1914 trans Antarctic journey in order to document global climate change. In 2015, the saga continued to the Arctic with a 65-member international team of artists, scientists, musicians and explorers including Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Ernie Brooks, Dr. Cabell Davis, Howard Shaw, and Leandro Blanco. The mission for this project is to promote understanding and awareness of the rapid climate changes our planet is experiencing and to highlight the plight of the species that are most at risk using images, art, music and solid science in order to be better able to influence critical climate policies globally. Look for the release of the film in the near future.
Tom Gruber is a researcher, designer, and entrepreneur, with a focus on technology to augment human intelligence. He was cofounder, CTO and VP Design for Siri, which created the first intelligent assistant for everyone. Siri was started in 2008, launched in early 2010, and soon after became part of Apple. Siri is now intrinsic to the Apple ecosystem, available on every new iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV, and Mac. Siri is used around the world over 2 billion times a day. At Apple, Tom leads Advanced Development to bring AI to the UI for current and future products. Tom has also applied AI to support collective human intelligence. His research at Stanford in AI, particularly ontology engineering, helped lay the groundwork for semantic information sharing and the Semantic Web. He has created several products and companies that support human collaboration and knowledge sharing. He invented HyperMail, the widely used open-source application that turns email conversations into collective memories on the Web. He was founder and CTO of Intraspect
Software, which pioneered the space of Collaborative Knowledge Management — software that helps large communities of professionals contribute to and learn from a collective body of knowledge. He designed and built RealTravel.com, a popular collective knowledge system where travelers from around the world share their experiences. Tom has been involved in an advisory role with LinkedIn, Internet Archive, SocialText, Mindjet, (Radar Networks), and Powerset (now Microsoft). Tom is passionate about underwater photography and ocean conservation.
Heather Brown specializes in project management having experience in company formation, administration, management, mediation, PR, marketing, advertising, fund-raising and grant writing. She is bilingual in both English and Spanish utilizing this knowledge in community outreach programs addressing childhood nutrition, recycling and waste management. Heather has an AA degree in business and she is finishing her degree in environmental science from American Public University. She is an SSI Scuba Instructor with advanced technical dive training in the areas of cave diving, mixed gas diving, ice diving and fast water rescue. Heather is based in Northern California where her partnership with her retired racehorse, Hestia, keeps her from spending too much time on Facebook.
Heather Brown’s professional career has spanned over three decades, but her passion for marine conservation issues began early. At the age of 16, she successfully lobbied the seafood buyers at local supermarkets to stop selling shark meat. Since then she has worked on dozens of conservation, restoration and sustainability projects in both the public and private sectors. These have included beach and wetland restoration, harbor and waterfront cleanups, coral reef surveys, fish counts, grey water reclamation systems, urban aquaculture systems, polyculture farming systems and initiatives designed to introduce and educate children about their local marine environments. Her experience has been gained through the entertainment, tourism, hotel & resort, academic and non-profit industries while having worked for both the public and private sector. She has designed educational curriculums and materials for adult ESL classes as well as serving as a technical editor on several published works.