Meet Our Experts:
An Interview with David Gruber
Meet National Geographic Emerging Explorer and grantee David Gruber, a marine biologist and ocean explorer who looks forward to working with students on the Belize Conservation in Action program.
What is your favorite part of your job as a marine biologist?
Being a marine biologist appeals to both my sense of curiosity and adventure. I enjoy descending to the deeper parts of the ocean in search of new species and phenomenon, which is a part of my job.
What has been your most exciting project with National Geographic?
National Geographic recently funded my expedition to the coral reefs of the Solomon Islands. There, we conducted night dives using specially-designed lights to seek out biofluorescent marine life. On a single expedition, we found over 180 new species of biofluorescent fish and sharks!
What is an important lesson you have learned throughout your travels and work as a scientist?
Always keep an open mind. You never know which way your findings will steer you.
What is your connection to Belize?
As an undergraduate, I spent a few months on a small five-acre island off the coast of southern Belize (Tobacco Caye) studying the nighttime migration behaviors of fish. The marine reserve system in Belize is one of the best in the world –and it demonstrates how strategically protecting large marine areas is one of the best means of maintaining a happy and healthy marine fauna.
Do you have a favorite place to explore in Belize?
The Great Blue Hole! Jacques Cousteau declared this one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. It is an underwater sinkhole that is perhaps the largest of its kind, and can be explored down to around 410 feet.
What advice would you give to aspiring young scientists?
Follow your passion –and be prepared for adventure.
What were you most passionate about as a teenager?
Do you have a hero or mentor?
I have many heroes and mentors. I’m inspired by the work William Beebe, Jacques Cousteau, Sylvia Earle and Jean Painlevé have done for our oceans. They all transformed the way I see the ocean depths and its life within.
Do you have any advice for our students heading out on a National Geographic Student Expedition this summer?
Bring your unadulterated curiosity and a desire to better understand the natural world!