Membership - American Sail Training Association

board bios

David H. Niebuhr, Ph.D.

Dr. David H. Niebuhr, a lifelong educator, is the Vice President for Education at the Audubon Nature Institute, in New Orleans Louisiana. At Audubon, he is responsible for guiding education and outreach programming at the Audubon Aquarium, Butterfly Garden & Insectarium, Zoo, and Wilderness Park. Prior to his move to New Orleans, he was the Executive Director at the Watermen’s Museum, in Yorktown, Virginia.  He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 1999 where he studied the lipid biochemistry of hard coral under changing environmental conditions. At the Watermen’s Museum, Dr. Niebuhr created a new strategic vision for permitting the small maritime museum to grow and prosper with highly desirable and value-added family and school program. Under his tenure, the Watermen’s Museum was recognized at the only museum in Virginia creating specialty programming for people with special learning needs, partnered with the National Park Service to increase public awareness of Virginia history and man’s impact on our environment over the past 400 years, and worked with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to permit middle school students to conduct scientific research on historic shipwrecks using sophisticated underwater robots. David was also the Vice President of the Education Division at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium where he led a team that provided educational programming for more than 100,000 students each year in addition to providing educational exhibits for 400,000 annual visitors to the Mote Aquarium. He has a broad background as an educator having worked as a high school teacher, a college professor, and as a field-based educator. Dr. Niebuhr is known for his enthusiastic and engaging style with his students and subject matter. His reputation as a teacher lead him to be selected to develop and teach science education programs as part of a joint US-China program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and he serves as the education and outreach expert on NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative National Advisory Panel.. Dr. Niebuhr is a physical biologist and ecologist whose work in curriculum development has received national recognition, including an internet-based project with WHRO Telecommunications that was featured in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Annual Report. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of TALL SHIP AMERICA and on the Editorial Board for Current: The Journal of Marine Education

Dr Niebuhr has been instrumental in incorporating business strategies into the development of educational and free choice programming. He developed a market analysis program for the NOAA NERRS program and was instrumental in the formation of the NERRS Coastal Training Initiative which resulted in a $7 million annual increase in federal funding for the NERRS. 

In addition to his work in science, history, and education, Dr. Niebuhr has varied experience in business management and media production. He is a coastal and blue-water sailor, and has served as an on-camera personality in many science and non-science programs.


Ph.D. – Marine Ecology & Lipid Biochemistry
M.B.A. – Marketing & Non-profit Administration
M.Ed. (Teaching License) – Biology & Chemistry


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