The oceans remain a realm of mystery, with an astonishing 95% still unmapped, but their secrets are starting to be revealed. Journey into the deep to explore exciting discoveries like sea sponges with cancer-fighting potential and underwater mountain ranges that may hold the clue to life’s origin. ABC News’ Bill Weir moderates a discussion with marine biologist Sylvia Earle, oceanographer David Gallo and Fabien Cousteau. Rare footage of pioneer Jacques Cousteau will take us back to the early days of passionate ocean exploration; the premiere of “behind-the-scenes” footage from Jacques Perrin’s new film Oceans will inspire with a vision of what lies ahead.
Bill Weir is the executive producer, writer and host of The Wonder List with Bill Weir an acclaimed CNN original series in search of people and places, cultures and creatures on the brink of seismic change. Debuting in March 2015, the first season took viewers from Venice to Vanuatu, from the Alps to the Everglades, telling unforgettable stories shot in lush, cinematic style by London filmmaker Philip Bloom. Weir joined CNN in November 2013 as anchor and reporter after a decade of distinctive broadcast journalism at ABC News. After helping to launch the weekend edition of Good Morning America in 2004, Weir became co-anchor of Nightline in 2010 while his reporting was featured on World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, 20/20 and his own Yahoo! News digital series, This Could Be Big. In his network career, Weir journeyed to more than 50 nations and all 50 states, covering breaking news and uncovering global trends. He was among the first reporters into the floodwaters of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s tsunami zone during the nuclear crisis of 2011. He dodged Taliban bullets in Afghanistan, led network coverage from Iraq and was the first American to broadcast live from Tibet. In 2012, he anchored ABC’s Summer Olympics coverage from London and brought unprecedented reporting from inside Apple’s Chinese factories. His live shots have come from atop the Golden Gate Bridge and below the waters of the Great Barrier Reef while his signature adventure reporting includes jumps from hot air balloons, hikes deep into the Amazon, and one fun night spent lashed to the side of Yosemite’s El Capitan. Before joining ABC News, Weir wrote and hosted projects for the FX and USA Networks and was an anchor/reporter in Los Angeles, Chicago, Green Bay and Austin, MN. He lives in New York with his wife, daughter and a four-pound dog named Burt. He sincerely believes he could escape from prison if the need ever arose.
David Gallo was one of the first oceanographers to use a combination of submarines and robots to map the undersea world. The Director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he has taken part in an exploration of RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck using the Russian MIR submarines, as well as a recent expedition to find the lost WWII submarine USS Grunion.
Dr. Gallo is currently interested in understanding the relationship between humanity and the sea. He was closely involved in the formulation and development of the Liquid Jungle Laboratory of Panama, a venture designed to better understand the interaction between people, tropical forests, and coastal marine habitats.
At Woods Hole, he works closely with scientists and engineers at the forefront of global exploration and discovery. He has participated in numerous expeditions to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and to the Mediterranean Sea.
Fabien Cousteau is an ocean explorer, the third generation to carry on the tradition of adventure pioneered by his grandfather Jacques Cousteau. His Natural Entertainment company works to raise environmental awareness through television and other media.
Living a childhood dream of “becoming a shark,” Cousteau orchestrated a three-year expedition to study the much feared great white shark in his innovative shark-shaped submersible, as chronicled in the 2006 CBS show “Shark: Mind of a Demon.” He also joined with his father, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and sister, Celine Cousteau, on a PBS series, “Ocean Adventures.”
Cousteau is on the board of the New York Harbor School and the Blue Ocean Film Festival, and is a part of the Water Innovation Alliance which brings water issues to the attention of business executives. He is also creating a new foundation, the Plant-a-Fish Initiative, to educate the public on the need to restore our marine habitats.
David E. Guggenheim, also known as the “Ocean Doctor,” is a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, submarine pilot and ocean explorer. He played a leading role in building the recently-formed Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership among the U.S. Gulf states and 13 federal agencies and Mexico. In 2007, as a scientific advisor to Greenpeace for its expedition to map deepwater corals in the Bering Sea, he piloted the first-ever manned submersible dives into the Bering Sea’s largest underwater canyons.
Dr. Guggenheim is currently leading a major project to elevate collaboration in marine science and conservation among Cuba, Mexico and the U.S. to a new level and leading the first-ever comprehensive research and conservation program in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico region, a joint effort with the University of Havana. He is president of 1planet1ocean, a project of The Ocean Foundation where he is a Senior Fellow and director of its Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program.
The host of the ExpeditionCasts podcast series, Dr. Guggenheim is also engaged in a special “expedition” to all fifty U.S. states visiting schools with programs about ocean exploration and conservation. He is also working to introduce cutting-edge technologies for sustainable aquaculture practices to the Americas to reduce pressure on overfished wild fish stocks.
National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer who has been called a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress and “Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine. Formerly chief scientist of NOAA, Earle is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, and chair of the Advisory Councils of the Harte Research Institute and the Ocean in Google Earth. She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and 22 honorary degrees. She has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 80 countries; and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions. Earle has led more than a hundred expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970; participating in ten saturation dives, most recently in July 2012; and setting a record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth. Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation, and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments. Earle’s more than one hundred national and international honors include the 2011 Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal, 2011 Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the International Women’s Forum, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, and the Society of Women Geographers.