She holds degrees from Florida State University, and Duke University, and was a Radcliffe Institute Scholar, a Research Fellow at Harvard University, and Research Associate at the University of California, Berkeley.

Throughout her career, Dr. Earle has been a leader and pioneer in her field, and has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving in excess of 6,000 hours underwater in connection with her research. She led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970 and holds a depth record for solo diving (1000 meters).

In 1990 she was appointed Chief Scientist of NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) where she served until 1992, when she founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER) - now DOER Marine Operations, of which she is Chairman - to design, operate, support, and consult on manned and robotic sub sea systems. She is the leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a five-year study of the National Marine Sanctuaries

Author of more than 100 publications concerning marine science and technology including the 1995 book, Sea Change, she has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical, and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Dr. Earle serves on various boards, foundations and committees relating to marine research, policy and conservation, and has received awards from organizations throughout the world.

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