Mr. David G. Gallo, PH.D.
Oceanographer and Deep-Sea Explorer
David Gallo is an American oceanographer and deep-sea explorer. For nearly 40 years, he has been at the forefront of ocean exploration, participating in and being witness to the development of new technologies and scientific discoveries that shape our view of planet earth. He is currently the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives and Programs at RMS Titanic Inc. Prior to that he held positions at the Earth Institute of Columbia University and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - both preeminent, globally recognized scientific laboratories.
David has given six TED main stage presentations and has been described by TED Conferences as “an enthusiastic ambassador between the sea and those of us on dry land.” With more than 14 million views his TED presentation “Underwater Astonishments” has been among the all-time top ten TED Talks.
David received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in geology from the State University of New York at Albany and a PhD in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. In 1987 he joined Robert Ballard’s team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as Assistant Director of the Center for Marine Exploration.
David has participated in expeditions to all of the world’s oceans and was one of the first scientists to use a combination of robots and submarines to explore the deep-sea floor. Most recently he co-led an expedition to create the first detailed and comprehensive map of the RMS TITANIC and co-led the successful U.S. effort to locate the wreck site of Air France flight 447. He is currently involved in planning a return to TITANIC, and considering and expedition to locate Ernest Shackleton’s ship, ENDURANCE.
Dr. Gallo remains active in exposing students and teachers both to the excitement of exploration and discovery and to the importance of understanding the world around us. He has participated in The Jason Project, The First Lego League, The Aspen Challenge, the The XPrize Foundation and more.
David has become increasingly outspoken about the relationship between humanity and the sea. He feels strongly that we need to recognize the ocean’s critical role in providing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. He is passionate in his belief that no matter where we live on earth, the oceans impact our everyday lives. Conversely, he believes that no matter where we live on earth, we have an impact on the oceans. Gallo is particularly concerned that the oceans’ role in climate change has been overlooked. The record of Earth’s past climate can be found in the ocean waters, coral reefs, ice cores, and the sediments and rocks of the deep-sea floor. Earth’s future climate is intimately tied to the oceans ability to transport and transfer heat from the equator to the north and south poles and from the ocean surface to the atmosphere above. The chances of humanity to survive climate change rests in our abilities to not only understand the past climate, but to predict what comes next.
David is personally committed to keeping curiosity alive. He has lectured internationally to audiences ranging from children to CEOs with the goal of awakening the little bit of Jacques Cousteau and Jules Verne that resides in each of us. He has given 6 main-stage TED talks and more than 15 TEDx presentations and is a TED Speaker Mentor and TED All-Star. During July 2014 David was invited by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to be a featured guest and speaker at the Ramadan Majlis.
He has appeared in numerous documentaries (Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic) and has been featured on numerous news programs (Larry King Live, Weather Channel, PBS, MSNBC, NBC Today show, and Face the Nation. He is currently a CNN Ocean Analyst.
David is an elected fellow of The Explorers Club and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In recognition of his role in exploration and in communicating science he is a 2014 recipient of the Explorer’s Club Lowell Thomas medal, and a co-recipient of the Computerworld-Smithsonian Award. Most recently for his efforts in communicating the oceans role in climate change David was awarded the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal of the Garden Club of America. Previous recipients include Rachel Carson (1951), Walt Disney (1954), Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall (1965), Lady Bird Johnson (1968), and Roger Tory Peterson (1970).