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.