An Authority and Spokesperson

A news team interviews Dr. David E. Guggenheim for PBS Newshour in Lousiana following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Dr. David E. Guggenheim on 60 MINUTESDr. Guggenheim is a regular spokesperson on ocean issues and has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, National Geographic Today, and in the New York Times among many others. He is considered an objective, reliable and articulate authority on a wide range of environmental issues, especially the oceans. See a complete list of Dr. Guggenheim’s recent media appearances…

Media Featuring Ocean Doctor

60 Minutes - CBSOur work researching and protecting Cuba’s coral reef ecosystems was featured on an award-winning segment of the CBS news program, 60 Minutes hosted by Anderson Cooper.

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Dr. David E. Guggenheim is a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, submarine pilot, ocean explorer, filmmaker, author 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. GuDr. David E. Guggenheim, the ggenheim hosts The Ocean Doctor Radio Show and appears frequently on TV and radio. In 2013, Guggenheim produced his first documentary film, Disaster at Nightingale: How Tragedy Found the World’s Remotest Island, detailing a little-known tragedy in the South Atlantic that killed thousands of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins. An accomplished public speaker, Dr. Guggenheim offers a unique perspective — from a tiny submarine 2,000 feet beneath Alaska’s Bering Sea to the hallways of Washington, DC — on the wonder of the oceans around us and the critical issues they now face. Dr. David E. Guggenheim pilots the DeepWorker submersibleIn early 2009, Dr. Guggenheim embarked on a special “expedition” to deliver speeches to tens of thousands of students in all 50 U.S. states, the Ocean Doctor’s “50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches” Expedition. In Washington, DC, Dr. Guggenheim is a leader in conservation policy, on important issues including global warming, coral reefs, sustainable seafood, and environmental education and is actively involved in international environmental issues. Read Dr. Guggenheim’s full biography…

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A Captivating Multimedia Event

DeepWorker-PribolofWith incredible video and imagery, the Ocean Doctor takes your audience on an unforgettable journey thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface, to the wilds of Cuba, and into the imaginations of today’s deep-sea technology inventors.

The Ocean Doctor on StageDr. Guggenheim speaks to a wide range of audiences at a wide range of events, including college and university events, charity events, business meetings and conferences, for groups ranging from 20 to 2,000, kindergarten to seniors.

His programs are captivating and inspirational, capturing the wonder of the oceans and the magic of discovery while also providing an important message about the state of our oceans and their future. Guggenheim draws from his personal accounts around the world, illustrating his personal adventures and experiences with his stunning photographs and underwater videos set to music. Dr. Guggenheim is fluent in Spanish and gives presentations in Spanish as well as English.

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For a free, no-obligation quote for your speaking event, please complete the form below. Speaking fees vary depending on travel time, preparation effort, and participation in additional activities. A discounted rate is provided for schools and nonprofit organizations. Please fill out the form below or give us a call at +1 (202) 695-2550.

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Selected Speech Topics

Lessons from the DEEP: What the Oceans Are Telling Us and Why it Matters

From the hallways of Washington, DC to thousands of feet below the sea, get a unique perspective on our oceans including their threats and what is being done to reverse their decline. Learn how our perspectives on the oceans have changed over the past 50 years and, despite our species’ journey into space, how little we actually know about the salt-water-covered portion of our own planet.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Selected Appearances

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Miami UniversityWe regularly bring scientists, naturalists, and others to campus to speak to the University community and, in many cases, to talk to students at area schools, but we have NEVER brought in a speaker who has had the impact that the Ocean Doctor has had. It’s been a month since Dr. Guggenheim visited, and people are STILL raving about the talks he gave! Several long-time University folks believe that the Hefner Lecture he gave at Miami (he delivered the 37th annual Hefner Lecture on November 3rd) was the best Hefner Lecture ever! In addition to the Lecture, Dr. Guggenheim visited four schools in three days’ time, speaking to more than 350 grade school students. I’ve heard from many of those students, as well as from their parents, and the enthusiasm and excitement he generated are unbelievable. Dr. Guggenheim relates so well to young people. He shares his sense of wonder at the beauty and diversity of the oceans, his awe at what he’s seen and discovered beneath the waves, his excitement about all that is yet to be explored and learned, and his passion for protecting and restoring ocean systems. Don’t miss the opportunity to bring him to your school!
Cecilia BergDirector, Center for Environmental EducationMiami University (Oxford, Ohio)

American University - School of CommunicationWow, David, you did a terrific job last night! I could tell from all the comments I heard afterwards what a big and positive impression you made on everyone in the audience. Everybody loved your presentation and found it fascinating. You were eloquent, informative, and persuasive.

I particularly appreciated your emphasis on telling details, like the Hollywood film made from The Sea Around Us, and the stunning stills and footage you sprinkled through your talk were captivating. Your great content, along with your relaxed, informal, and friendly way of presenting, made the evening rich and memorable.
Thank you so much! I’m am immensely grateful to you. My students were also thrilled that you came to class to talk to them before you spoke to the jam-packed audience in the Wechsler Theater. Thanks again!
Christopher PalmerDistinguished Film Producer in ResidenceAmerican University, School of Communications (Washington, DC)

World Affairs Council

We’ve just completed an amazing two-day visit by Dr. Guggenheim! He spoke to elementary students; college students and faculty; and a large general audience (where he received a standing ovation). Our varied audiences totaled into the several hundreds.We were particularly taken with how well he relates to young people. We gathered a group of 150 6th-graders from our public school system for his presentation. He gave them an exciting program, finishing by teaching them how to “drive” his min-sub — brilliant!) — they all raised their hands when Dr. G asked if they wanted to become scientists! Every school district in the United States needs Dr. G to come speak and motivate their students to go into the hard sciences. Our Council and community members think that he was one of the best speakers they’ve heard, and they are quite particular, as we bring in national experts throughout the year — we have a very active speakers program.Dr. Guggenheim is extremely gracious and generous with his time. We truly enjoyed his short visit with us and can’t wait to bring him back! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like any more testimonial. I’ve been bringing in speakers for over 15 years and he is one of the best!

Dixie AndersonExecutive DirectorWorld Affairs Council of Western Michigan
Rotary InternationalI would like to thank you for your talk at our Rotary Club of Ojai meeting. In my 38 years as a member I have never seen such a positive reception. Thank you again ‘Ocean Doctor’ for opening our eyes to the wonders of the sea and the responsibility that we all share in maintaining it for future generations.
John JacobsCPAJacobs & Jacobs Accountancy, Ojai, California
New College of FloridaWith impassioned words and impressive pictures, Dr. Guggenheim was able to illustrate many of the issues the class was exploring–from overfishing to the effect of land use policies to our changing relationship with the creatures of the sea. His speaking engagement was an invaluable gift.
Kelly Samek, Esq.Adjunct ProfessorNew College of Florida (Sarasota, Florida)

Sea and LearnDr. Guggenheim was an invaluable contributor to our annual program. His engaging and entertaining presentation taught our community about the fragility of the world’s oceans, what we can do to protect them, and why it is essential to do so. He gave our community the necessary tools to address local environmental issues with our government to ensure regulations are put in place to protect our environment.

Lynn CostenaroPresidentSea and Learn on Saba Foundation (Saba, Netherlands Antilles)
Licking County Soil & Water Conservation DistrictOcean Doctor, David Guggenheim transported elementary students, college students and residents from local watersheds to hidden treasures in the ocean’s depths. He emphasized that stewardship of natural resources not only benefits local communities, but all downstream communities, including the most unexplored ocean depths. He encouraged young students to prepare themselves for a science career and be part of the next generation to further explore the ocean’s secrets. He was a captivating and energizing speaker. We would like to invite David back for future presentations.
Jim KiracofeAdministratorLicking County Soil and Water Conservation District (Ohio)
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Cuba Travel Program Reviews
Ed Kelly

Our Ocean Doctor sponsored trip to Gardens of the Queen in Cuba exceeded all expectations. Lodging and transportation arrangements In Havana along with the educational component and guided tours made the land based days interesting and well worth while. The diving experience was almost beyond belief! Imagine what Caribbean marine life was like 50 or 100 years ago, that’s what you’ll see in the Gardens of the Queen.

Ed Kelly
Maida Taylor

As the icy Cold War between the USA and Cuba begins to thaw, we feel very privileged to have traveled with Ocean Doctor to Havana and Garden of the Queens. Every person we met — hosts, land and sea guides, guests speakers — evidenced a great measure of knowledge, kindness and care. The commentary by the tour guides, the discussions with speakers, and of course, the diving, all exceeded our expectations. Hope to return again as soon as time and tides allow.

Maida Taylor
Sandy Driscoll

Our trip to Havana and The Gardens of the Queen exceeded my expectations! The Cuban people were warm and welcoming to us all. Our educational programs totally raised my awareness of the beauty and importance of keeping our reefs healthy. To be able to dive in pristine and virginal waters opened my eyes further to how we can improve the reefs throughout the world. I hope that David and Ocean Doctor can continue these programs to others. The story truly lies underwater! Thank you

Sandy Driscoll
Peter W. King, DVM
  1. The Ocean Doctor facilitation of U.S. divers in conjunction with Avalon and the Cuban ministry of tourism was a seamless coordination which made the entire experience an educational and diving treat.
  2. Cuba and it’s people are a safe and striving community. There is no danger to visitors and tourists are welcomed and respected. None of us felt threatened despite our gender or the hour while exploring Havana.
  3. Want a little safe adventure in your life? Do it.
Peter W. King, DVM
Tom Pederson

Any trepidation I had about traveling to Cuba from the United States soon evaporated when I arrived in Havana and was warmly greeted by Ruxandra, our representative from Avalon travel. She was the first of many who had a role in making the trip so memorable. We checked into our comfortable hotel in Old Havana. From my room’s balcony window I could watch the famous old cars cruise by. As an educational tour we were able to take advantage of the connections generated by the founder of Ocean Doctor who was traveling with us on his 70th trip to Cuba. We spent time with the scientists, dive operators and environmentalists who were working to preserve the Cuban marine environment. They shared their knowledge and passion during discussions and over meals together. A picture was forming as to how the Gardens of the Queen became such a remarkable marine preserve and what challenges there are to keep it that way. Our time in Havana passed quickly as we enjoyed the sites and sounds of this historic old city. Visits to Hemingway’s hangouts rounded out our stay in Havana. As an avid diver, instructor, and tour leader for 40 years I have seen the changes that have occurred to our reefs in the Caribbean. I was overjoyed by the health, diversity, and beauty of the Garden of the Queens reef system. There is very little (if any) diving left in the Caribbean that can compare to the diving at these sites. Adding to the sense of wonder was that we were the only boat in sight at any of our dive sites. I will be going back soon because I spent so much time watching the reef sharks, tarpon, goliath grouper and other big fish that I missed the little stuff like nudibranchs and other favorites. I highly recommend this trip to all divers. It will recharge your sense of wonder and hope for the Caribbean reefs.

Tom PedersonInstructor & Travel GuruScuba Center | Minneapolis, Minnesota
Teresa Greenway

Cuba lingers…in your heart and soul……! A most memorable and amazing journey to a land where time has stood still. it was so refreshing to see and interact with a vibrant, energized and happy but hard working people willing to share with you their stories, their art, their passions, their hopes for the future. The sight of horse drawn carriages in the countryside and ’50s vintage cars in the city was such a delight! It was equally wonderful not to see western franchises, commercial billboards, people talking or texting on cellphones. Instead, there was music everywhere and lovely people willing to share their experiences in engaging conversation. What a novel concept! Thanks to Ocean Doctor for making this possible and for Erika, who was the most fearless of leaders! She is an amazing woman who was professional, competent, fun & funny, and fluent in spanish (which helped us immensely in understanding the hopes and concerns of the people). She went the extra mile and had answers for all of our questions…..we were in excellent hands! Our guides in Habana were knowledgeable and friendly. Our staff on Georgiana was fantastic! They catered to our every need by providing us with wonderful food, drinks, accommodations, cool refreshing face towels after a dive, beautifully shaped towels/sheets of various sea creatures in our room…. and the ever present smile! You could tell there was a lot of love and care put in everything they did. The competent and very knowledgeable avalon managers/divemasters provided us with underwater and land experiences that will not be soon forgotten! I have traveled around the world and few places have touched me as deeply as Cuba and its smiling, generous, resourceful and kind people. It is a unique place that awakens all the senses, touches the soul, and puts you back in touch with humanity. i would return in a heart beat!

Teresa Greenway
Cathy Mack

This trip was absolutely worth every cent. We loved our time in Havana, with the guides and walking around and the restaurants. Food was surprisingly quite good. The diving was absolutely far and away the best in the Caribbean (and we have been almost everywhere that’s easily accessible) and the Avalon dive operation was professional, on time and first rate. We would go back in a minute!

Cathy Mack
Richard Woulfe

I was on the first “people to people” trip with diving to Gardens of the Queen with David and some of the finest dive industry experts. This 11 day/10 night program is an excellent combination of education, diving and culture. The interaction with the top Cuban Marine biologists and conservationists was very informative. The diving at Gardens of the Queen is the finest Caribbean diving with unique, up close shark interactions and huge quantities of fish living in a balanced and fully protected marine eco system. And the touring of Havana and other parts of Cuba was memorable and eye opening. The Avalon II live aboard will be finished in March, 2014 and appears to be on track to be one of the finest floating hotels in Cuba if not the world.

Richard WoulfeOwnerRich Travels, FAM and Special Clients
Mark J. Roberts

I was honored to be invited along on the first trip to Cuba that Ocean Doctor now conducts as a person-to-person, cultural and educational program. I must say that the journey fulfilled all three of those criteria, allowing us to meet and converse with a wide range of Cuban citizens and learn about their history, daily lives and their work to conserve both the marine and land environments. The diving we were privileged to experience in The Gardens of the Queen was simply phenomenal. I’ve dived all over the Caribbean but have never seen the health and diversity in the total marine environment than I saw there. Cuba and Ocean Doctor are doing amazing things to preserve our oceans for future generations.

Mark J. RobertsFounderDiVentures | Omaha, Nebraska
Doris Pfister

Just returned from Ocean Doctor’s People-to-People expedition to Cuba, and what a great experience!! The people were friendly and open. We had unlimited access to marine biologists, researchers, and environmental economists, who all gave excellent presentations on Cuba’s marine environment. And the diving in Gardens of the Queen was absolutely outstanding. Can’t remember the last time I saw such prolific schools of fish and tarpon. There were sharks (caribbean reef, silkys, nurse) on every dive and the staff and crew were fabulous!! Thank you David G. for all your hard work in opening up this beautiful country and it’s marine environment to us!!

Doris PfisterSales ConsultantCaradonna Dive Adventures
Wendy Barels

I just wanted to personally thank you for organizing and leading our group to Cuba. Larry and I had such a memorable time, getting to see and interact with the Cubans and diving the Jardines de la Reina. This was the trip of a lifetime for us, and I am so impressed with your knowledge and commitment to making the experience so enjoyable. Your passion to Cuba and our future with them is extraordinary!

Wendy Barels

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