The ocean supplies livelihood and recreation for people the world over. It covers more than 70% of the Earth, providing us with food, jobs, and fun. The ocean makes our weather and is a promising source of new pharmaceuticals and other products. Yet we are placing increasing pressure on the marine environment. Currently more than half of the world's population live within 60 miles of the coast - and the trend is growing.
To focus global attention on the importance of the ocean and its sustainability, the United Nations has proclaimed 1998 the International Year of the Ocean. In commemoration of this special year, the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies and Sea Grant College Program are sponsoring the Year of the Ocean Lunch and Lecture Series at the Hotel du Pont featuring renowned ocean scientists. On May 19, Dr. Sylvia Earle will present "Sea Change -- A Message of the Oceans" as the final lecture in the series.
As an ocean scientist, researcher, and explorer, Earle has spent more than 6,000 hours undersea. In her 1980 book, Exploring the Deep Frontier, Earle relates her adventure walking on the ocean floor untethered at a depth of 1,250 feet. This accomplishment has not been matched by any other deep-sea explorer. She also has been the chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Earle holds a bachelor's degree from Florida State University and a doctorate and master's degree from Duke University. She founded and is chair of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, a company that designs, operates, and consults on manned and robotic sub-sea systems.
In her most recent book, Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans, Earle writes about the marine environment and abundant forms of life found there based on her 30 years of undersea exploration. This book has been compared to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring as a plea to protect and preserve the fragile ocean ecosystem. Earle also has written for National Geographic magazine, and her research on sperm whales in the South Pacific is the subject of the documentary film Gentle Giants of the Pacific.
Dr. Earle's lecture, located at the Hotel du Pont, includes lunch and will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Cost is $10 per person, and advance registration is required. To register, please call (302) 831-2841, or e-mail MarineCom@udel.edu.