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David Guggenheim

Marine Scientist, Conservation Policy Specialist & President and Founder of Ocean Doctor

Marine Scientist, Conservation Policy Specialist & President and Founder of Ocean Doctor

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Washington, DC, USA
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David Guggenheim Biography

Dr. David E. Guggenheim is a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, submarine pilot, ocean explorer and educator. He is president and founder of the Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization, Ocean Doctor.

Guggenheim directs Cuba Conservancy — an Ocean Doctor Program, and is in his 15th year leading research and conservation efforts in Cuba focused on coral reefs and sea turtles, a joint effort with the University of Havana. His work was recently featured on "60 MINUTES." Guggenheim led the formation of the Trinational Initiative for Marine Science & Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico & Western Caribbean, a major project to elevate collaboration in marine science and conservation among Cuba, Mexico and the U.S. to a new level.

As an ocean explorer, Guggenheim piloted the first-ever manned submersible dives into the world’s largest underwater canyons in the Bering Sea as a scientific advisor to Greenpeace. He was inducted into the Explorers Club as a National Fellow in 2008.

Guggenheim is working to advance cutting-edge technologies for sustainable aquaculture practices to the Americas to reduce pressure on overfished wild fish stocks. Following the tragic BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Dr. Guggenheim has led efforts on a key recovery project in New Orleans East, the Viet Village Urban Farm Sustainable Aquaculture Park, a next-generation fish farming facility designed to grow fish sustainably while taking pressure off of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem during its long recovery. The project will bring green jobs and economic benefits to the largely Vietnamese community of New Orleans East, a community that has been heavily dependent on fishing but has been seriously impacted by both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

Following the wreck of the freighter, Oliva and resulting oil spill at Nightingale Island, part of the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, Dr. Guggenheim has been leading efforts in the U.S. to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins, half of whose population resides in those islands.

Guggenheim hosts "The Ocean Doctor Radio Show" and "ExpeditionCasts" podcast series and plays a key role in public outreach and education about the oceans. He makes frequent speaking and television and radio appearances, having recently appeared on "60 MINUTES," ABC’s "Good Morning America," CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Guggenheim holds a strong commitment to environmental education and is currently engaged in Ocean Doctor’s 50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition to all fifty U.S. states, visiting schools and bringing special programs about ocean exploration and conservation to young students. So far he has traveled more than 37,000 miles, visited 17 states, 1 U.S. territory, made more than 55 speeches and reached more than 15,000 students in schools ranging from the northernmost community in North America, Barrow, Alaska, to Macksville, Kansas, close to the geographic center of the lower 48 states, to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Guggenheim played a lead role in forming the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership among the U.S. Gulf states and 13 federal agencies and Mexico.

Guggenheim previously served as Vice President at The Ocean Conservancy, President & CEO of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, co-chair of the Everglades Coalition and president of the Friends of Channel Islands National Park.

Guggenheim holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University in Virginia, a Master’s in Aquatic and Population Biology from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s in Regional Science and Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

David Guggenheim Speaking Topics

  • Which Fish Should I Eat? The Future of Fish, Our Health and Our Oceans

    Industrial fishing is one of the most destructive forces impacting the oceans today. By shifting their consumption to sustainably-caught or sustainably-farmed fish, consumers have the power to make a difference. But choosing the right fish to eat is difficult for the consumer, either from a conservation or a health perspective. We hear eating fish is good for you, but eating too much can be harmful due to mercury and other contaminants. Dr. Guggenheim simplifies these complex issues, provides easy-to-follow guidance and gives a peek at the future of fish: land-based, high-tech sustainable fish farms.

  • Lessons from the Gulf: The BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    What have we learned from the BP disaster? See the events of the disaster unfold through the lens of the conservation community, working to prevent a major international incident with Cuba, organizing the scientific community against the use of chemical dispersants, and working to help communities in the Gulf recover. Are we ready for another blowout? And what about the Arctic? Dr. Guggenheim’s work in the Gulf has been featured on Good Morning America, MSNBC and PBS Newshour.

  • Climate Change & Our Oceans: What's at Stake?

    The world is warming rapidly. What is in store for our oceans and what does it mean for us? Equally serious yet getting very little attention is climate change’s “evil twin” — acid oceans — and why the end could be near for most of the coral reefs on earth this century. The presentation includes excerpts from Dr. Guggenheim’s testimony before the Scottish Parliament. It also examines reasons for hope in Cuba and learn how we all can work together to solve the problems caused by these terrible twins.

  • Disaster at Nightingale: How Tragedy Found the World's Remotest Island

    In 2011, Dr. Guggenheim was a lecturer aboard the MS Prince Albert II, transiting from tip of South America to the tip of South Africa, and witnessed the worst environmental disaster of his life. A soybean bulk carrier slammed into Nightingale Island, part of the most remote inhabited island group in the world, Tristan da Cunha. He produced a 25-minute documentary, Disaster at Nightingale, which premiered in 2013, detailing this disaster and how it killed thousands of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins. The film has started an important conversation in Washington, DC and elsewhere about the risks to remote places around the world that harbor some of the planet’s most treasured wildlife. Dr. Guggenheim will present the film, discuss its production and ongoing efforts to save penguins in the South Atlantic and around the world.

  • Beneath the Deadliest Catch: The View from 2,000 Feet Below the Bering Sea

    Take a ride in the DeepWorker submersible and learn how to pilot this amazing little sub. Dr. Guggenheim provides a brief history of ocean exploration, some other notable submarines, and then takes the audience on a journey to Alaska’s Bering Sea to explore deepwater corals living at 2,000 feet — the oldest animals living today. Dr. Guggenheim piloted the first manned submersible dive into the largest underwater canyons in the world: Pribolof Canyon and Zhemchug Canyon, both in the Bering Sea. Dr. Guggenheim will discuss how important deep sea ecosystems and corals are, how they are being destroyed by the ton and why exploration of the deep, dark waters of the world holds the key to their survival.

  • A Living Time Machine: Cuba's Spectacular Ocean Ecosystems and the Hope They Offer the World

    Guggenheim directs Cuba Conservancy — an Ocean Doctor Program, and is in his 14th year leading research and conservation efforts in Cuba focused on coral reefs, a joint effort with the University of Havana. His work was recently featured on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper, on the PBS Nature series and on NPR. In a world of corals dead and dying, Cuba’s marine ecosystems are spectacularly healthy, a Jurassic Park-like experience teeming with endangered species seldom seen elsewhere in the Caribbean, including bountiful sharks and grouper. We visit Gardens of the Queen, named by Christopher Columbus 500 years ago to honor Queen Isabella — truly a living time machine — and explore why this area is so healthy and what the implications are for ocean ecosystems around the world

David Guggenheim Videos

  • Speaker, Ocean Explorer and Conservation Leader, Dr. David E. Guggenheim
  • David E.Guggenheim Interview on i24 News Morning Edition, Tel-Aviv
  • Safe House World Premiere: Interview with writer David Guggenheim

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  • What topics does David Guggenheim speak about?

    David Guggenheim is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Animals & Wildlife, Business, Conservation, Earth Day, Environment, Environmental Policy, Green and Sustainability, Non Profit, Science and Technology.
  • Where does David Guggenheim travel from?

    David Guggenheim generally travels from Washington, DC, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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David Guggenheim is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Which Fish Should I Eat? The Future of Fish, Our Health and Our Oceans, Lessons from the Gulf: The BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Climate Change & Our Oceans: What's at Stake?, Disaster at Nightingale: How Tragedy Found the World's Remotest Island, Beneath the Deadliest Catch: The View from 2,000 Feet Below the Bering Sea and A Living Time Machine: Cuba's Spectacular Ocean Ecosystems and the Hope They Offer the World. The estimated speaking fee range to book David Guggenheim for your event is available upon request. David Guggenheim generally travels from Washington, DC, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Diva Amon, Douglas McCauley, Peter B. de Menocal, Natalie Kyriacou OAM and Vedika Bhandarkar. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling David Guggenheim for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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