David Guggenheim, Washington, DC Member Since November 2009 Artist Statement Dr. David E. Guggenheim is a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, submarine pilot and ocean explorer. He is Senior Fellow at The Ocean Foundation where he serves as director of its Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. He is helping to lead 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. He is also leading the first-ever comprehensive research and conservation program in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico region, a joint effort with the University of Havana.
Following the tragic BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Dr. Guggenheim has been leading 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.
Also known as the “Ocean Doctor” and host of The Ocean Doctor radio show and the ExpeditionCasts podcast series, Dr. Guggenheim plays a key role in public outreach and education about the oceans. He makes frequent television and radio appearances, having recently appeared on 60 Minutes, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.
He is currently engaged in the “50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches” tour, a special “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 35,000 miles, visited 14 states, 1 U.S. territory, made more than 50 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.
In 2007 he served as a scientific advisor to Greenpeace for its expedition to map deepwater corals in the Bering Sea where he piloted the first-ever manned submersible dives into the Bering Sea’s largest underwater canyons. Guggenheim played a lead role in building the recently-formed Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership among the U.S. Gulf states and 13 federal agencies and Mexico. Guggenheim is also working to introduce cutting-edge technologies for sustainable aquaculture practices to the Americas to reduce pressure on overfished wild fish stocks. 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.