Keynote Speaker

David Gallo, PhD

Director of Special Projects
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

David Gallo

David Gallo is an American oceanographer and director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For more than 25 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 has been described by TED Conferences as “an enthusiastic ambassador between the sea and those of us on dry land.”  With more than 8 million views, his TED presentation “Underwater Astonishments” is among the top three TED Talks viewed to date.

He received bachelor of science and master of science degrees in geology from the State University of New York at Albany and a doctorate degree 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.

Gallo has participated in expeditions to all the world’s oceans and was one of the first scientists to use a combination of robots and submarines to explore the deep seafloor. Most recently, he co-led an expedition to create the first detailed and comprehensive map of the RMS Titanic, and he co-led the successful international effort to locate the remains of Air France flight 447.  He is presently involved in planning an international expedition to locate and document the wreckage of Ernest Shackleton’s ship, HMS Endurance.

Gallo remains active in encouraging the development of new technologies for ocean exploration. He is a member of James Cameron’s Deep Ocean Task Force and the XPrize Oceans Advisory Committee.

He is becoming increasingly outspoken about the relationship between humanity and the sea. He feels strongly that instead of taking the oceans for granted, we need to recognize the oceans’ critical role in providing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. At the same time, Gallo feels that human activity has impacted the ocean on a global scale and with significant consequences. The oceans hold the clues to our past and the key to our future, yet they remain mostly unexplored and poorly understood.

Gallo is personally committed to conveying the excitement and importance of ocean exploration to the public at large. 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 more than 10 TED and TEDx presentations and has appeared in numerous documentaries (Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic) and has been featured on numerous televised news programs (Weather Channel, PBS Need to Know, MSNBC The Ed Show, and NBC Today show).

In recognition of his role in exploration and communications, he is the corecipient of a Computerworld-Smithsonian Award. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a National Fellow of The Explorers Club, and a recent recipient of the Lotus Club Distinguished Achievement Award in Science. He is a member of the XPrize Deep Ocean Advisory Board and James Cameron’s Deep Ocean Task Force.

David understands the critical contribution the Esri's ArcGIS platform is making towards collecting, managing, and sharing information about our Oceans so that we can better visualize, observe, and understand them.