Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Easter Microplate Expedition, March 12 - April 6, 2005

Click on any name to read an interview from the scientists. Please visit the ship's crew page to meet the Atlantis crew, Alvin pilots and The Shipboard Science Services Group 

Robert Vrijenhoek, Cindy Lee Van Dover, Victor Campos Araneda, Caren Braby, Katharine Coykendall, Megan Evans, Shana Goffredi, Ana Hilario, Karen Jacobsen, Shannon Johnson, Joe Jones, Daniel Layton-Matthews, Vicki Orphan, Jenny Paduan, Greg Rouse, Michel Segonzac, Nicole Stroncik, Jessica Wallace, Nerida Wilson, Robbie Young

Bob.jpg (95791 bytes)Robert Vrijenhoek, Ph.D.  top of page
MBARI Senior Scientist
http://www.mbari.org/staff/vrijen/

What is your role on this cruise?
Chief scientist and Principal Investigator of NSF-funded research program.

What are your primary goals?
Our immediate goal is to obtain biological samples from a series of hydrothermal vents between 23° and 38° south latitude along the East Pacific Rise and the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. Our main concern is to determine whether topographical features, such as the Easter and Juan Fernandez Microplates, create isolating barriers for along-axis dispersal of vent-endemic organisms.

What do you expect to find?
Back at MBARI, we will examine DNA sequences from the animals collected during this expedition and use the genetic data to investigate patterns and rates of dispersal (gene flow) among these vent localities. In addition, we expect to find some species that are new to science. Such discoveries occur just about every time we explore a new deep-sea region. Taxonomic experts collaborate with us to identify the organisms and publish formal descriptions of the new species.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
The few weeks before an expedition are always hectic with all the worries about your equipment and scientists getting to the ship on time. It's not much fun to travel much anymore with all the concerns about security. Nevertheless, the opportunity to visit new places and see new things outweighs the inconvenience and keeps me going. The cruises themselves are enjoyable once you leave the dock. I enjoy most the interactions with a diverse group of scientists. Frankly, most of the chemistry, geology, microbiology, and oceanography I have learned was acquired at sea with the help and patience of my scientific colleagues and collaborators.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
My title at MBARI is Senior Scientist. I became a scientist because its like living in Neverland. Creative scientists don't have to grow up. They find rewards in looking at the world with a child-like wonder, asking endless questions about how things work, how things came to be, why things work one way rather than some other way, and not being easily satisfied with answers found in the textbooks. So, we find our own answers by designing experiments and conducting investigations like this expedition. I always wanted to be a biologist. Several of my college professors recognized my boundless curiosity, so they encouraged me to go to graduate school and earn a Ph.D. Its a decision I have never regretted. I might look a little old and grey-haired, but inside I am still a 9-year old boy who likes to play in puddles.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
I don't want to leave the impression that being a scientist is easy, nothing but fun and games. Getting the education that allows us to function as research scientists requires many years of hard work, including college and graduate degrees that must be earned. Sometimes, our best efforts result in failed experiments. But we learn from the mistakes. Also, succeeding as a scientist requires a bit of good fortune. Occasionally good new opportunities pass your way, but just being lucky is not enough. Being armed with a broad education, the right set of questions, and proper tools allows a scientist to exploit those opportunities in creative ways.


Cindy Lee Van Dover, Ph.D.   top of page
Majorie S. Curtis Associate Professor, Biology Department, The College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded research program

What are your primary goals?
My team is engaged in a comparative study of community structure of invertebrates (small polychaetes, gastropods, and crustaceans) that live within mussel beds. We will collect quantitative samples of this community from the mussel beds at 38°S, and compare this community with what we have already documented for mussel beds to the north, at 17S, 9N, and 11N on the East Pacific Rise. This work complements that of Bob Vrijenhoek's team, whose molecular studies are restricted to a few species. Bob gets a much more detailed look at what individual species are doing at a genetic level, while we provide an overview of how the entire community (dozens of species) changes along the ridge axis and across potential barriers or filters to species' dispersal.

What do you expect to find?
Our primary study site is at 38S. Until this dive series, the furthest south anyone has sampled is 32S, where there were indications that the faunal assemblage was shifting from one resembling communities at 17S and to the north on the East Pacific Rise, to an assemblage that begins to pick up species we had previously thought were only in the western Pacific. The extra 6 degrees of latitude and the presence of the Juan Fernandez Microplate between 32S and 38S may mean that we will see even more of a "western Pacific" trend in the species that make up the faunal lists from the mussel beds. We will have the chance to test this hypothesis when we return to sea on a second cruise, together with the Vrijenhoek group, to sample mussel beds at hydrothermal vents of two western Pacific back arc basins (Lau and Fiji). Because we are diving in an extremely remote location where no one has ever sampled before, we have the chance of finding organisms that belong to groups of animals never before seen at vents, so there is an element of exploration and discovery in our work that gives this cruise an added spice.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I never like that first day at sea―I get seasick!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a college professor. The academic world of teaching and research is a dynamic and exciting one. Each day brings a new challenge, each day brings a new reward. I am never bored, I interact with wonderful colleagues, I have a chance to learn new things about the world and to help others to learn.

I took a non-traditional route to becoming a college professor, but the basic education requirements are the same for us all - high school, college, graduate school, post-doc. I was a college drop-out; I worked as a technician for several years before finally going to graduate school, my post-doc was as a technician and pilot with the Alvin group, I spent a wonderful year as a visiting scholar at Duke University before getting a "real" job in Alaska as a program manager of a NOAA-sponsored program that funded deep-sea research. Finally, in 1998, I was offered and accepted a position as assistant professor at The College of William & Mary. After my 5th year here, I was awarded tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
There is so much of the deep ocean that is unexplored and unknown. Our ignorance of processes in the deep sea is so profound that generations of scientists will be working to understand all that goes on there. I hope that the human impact on our planet does not force these generations to come to race to understand the deep ocean as it undergoes irreversible changes that will dramatically alter the climate of our planet.


V_Campos-Araneda_640.JPG (49124 bytes)Victor Campos Araneda, M.Sc.
Molecular Microbiologist, Universidad de Concepcion

http://www.udec.cl, http://www.Copas.cl

What is your role on the cruise?
Chilean observer 

What are your primary goals?
Learn new sampling techniques and new lines of investigation. 

What do you expect to find?
The hydrothermal vents are well known for extremes in geochemical conditions, as well for the exotic life they support. Within such context, I hope to determine the composition of the bacterial community, examine the spatial heterogeneity of bacterial population, use molecular techniques and describe their roles in the system. 

What is your favorite part of a research cruise? 
The science meetings, since we learn about others’ new investigations. 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Professor of Microbiology at the Universidad de Concepcion, studying the distribution and composition of bacterial communities in hydrothermal vents. The hydrothermal vent organisms are living in an unexpected deep-sea environment, several thousand meters below the sea surface, where the earth´s crustal plates are unusually hot and contain high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. This environment may be considered extreme given the pressure, the high temperature and chemical toxicity. The fauna of the hydrothermal vent communities use an unexpected mode of animal nutrition in which chemoautotrophic bacteria symbionts are maintained within specialized cells of the host animal. This discovery motivates the following questions: what is the composition the bacterial community in this extreme system and what is the relationship between changes in physicochemical parameters and bacterial population distribution? I plan to use molecular techniques to study these questions.


Braby.jpg (52802 bytes)Caren Braby, Ph.D.  top of page
MBARI Postdoctoral fellow

What is your role on this cruise?
As part of the Vrijenhoek lab, my primary role will be to help collect animals for later genetic analysis in our lab at MBARI. This will mean hours of time in the ship's laboratories sorting and identifying animals, before preparing them for transport back to the United States. As with any research cruise, I will spend time in the lab working on our own projects, as well as assisting our colleagues who need an extra hand.

What are your primary goals?
My goal is to learn more about the genetic structure of hydrothermal vent animals along the Eastern Pacific Rise and around the Easter Island Microplate. Just like animals you would find in the rocky intertidal (like mussels, barnacles and sea stars), hydrothermal vent animals usually have large adult forms and microscopic larval forms, which can be carried by deep-sea currents. We would like to know whether the geologic structure of deep-sea mountain ranges hinder the movement of larvae by directing the flow of these currents away from suitable habitat. We can determine this by comparing the DNA of the adults from various locations.

What do you expect to find?
From the time I started my marine biology education, I have been fascinated with the mysterious hydrothermal vent ecosystem. I expect to find an array of animals that can easily be seen from the submarine, including giant Riftia tube worms, mussels, crabs, and fish. I also expect to find an astonishing number of species that can not be seen from the sub, especially polychaete worms that live in association with the larger animals. The most exciting part is that we will surely find things that we could have never expected!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Research cruises are intense experiences. There is a tremendous amount of work and there is often little time for rest. However, there is so much to learn from the animals themselves and from the other scientists that the time flies by. This is my favorite part of cruises. My least favorite part is that I leave my family and my most cherished neighbors behind for over a month.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at MBARI. Even as a little girl, growing up in coastal California, I always had more fun exploring tidepools than doing just about anything else. What did I want to be when I grew up? A marine biologist! I earned my M.S. at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories studying deep-sea cephalopods and Ph.D. degree at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station studying the ecological physiology of marine invasive species. I am now developing molecular techniques to identify larvae in plankton samples so that we can better understand larval dispersal in both the surface and deep oceans. 


K_Coykendall_640.JPG (41102 bytes)Katherine Coykendall 
Graduate Research Assistant, MBARI

What is your role on this cruise? 
I will be helping to sort and dissect animals as they are brought on board from the Alvin. 

What are your primary goals? 
My goals are to 1) not get seasick 2) increase my sparse knowledge of deep sea fauna and geology. 

What do you expect to find?
I don't necessarily expect to find anything in particular. I hope to see a wide variety of critters throughout the dive sites so I can become familiar with the ecosystem. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite: lots of good food, extensive library on board, being surrounded by many different kinds of experts. Least favorite: wondering if I'm going to get seasick. 

What is your job title? 
Graduate research assistant. My undergraduate major was marine science, my graduate work is in genetics. Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one? I've wanted to be a marine biologist since the 3rd grade. I enjoy math and puzzles so genetics seemed a logical choice. I picked a college with a good marine science program and I volunteered early and often in labs to find out what I wanted. Researchers LOVE volunteers! 


MeganEvans.jpg (158595 bytes)Megan Evans   top of page
Undergraduate Student at the College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be assisting Cindy Van Dover and Michel Segonzac with sorting samples collected from mussel beds and helping in any other way I can.

What are your primary goals?
To see how mussel bed diversity differs in relation to the Easter Microplate and to get my first glimpse of a hydrothermal vent in person. My current research involves looking at Blake Ridge mussels under TEM so I hope to preserve mussels from the Pacific for future comparison.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to find differences in the community structure of mussel beds above and below the Easter Microplate.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I don’t know yet—this is my first one! I’m most looking forward to seeing the ocean every day and least looking forward to seasickness and bad weather.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I first became interested the deep sea when my elementary school participated in a program in conjunction with National Geographic. We were able to watch live feed from the ROV Jason in the Gulf of California. I was fascinated by all the strange looking creatures and the idea on an unexplored frontier. At William and Mary, I had the opportunity to join Cindy Van Dover’s lab and research polychaete worms from hydrothermal vents. A year later I started my senior honors thesis on viruses in mussels from methane hydrate seeps. 


Shana_photo.JPG (186990 bytes)Shana Goffredi, Ph.D.  top of page
Senior Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology

What is your role on this cruise?
To carry out my own research goals and, like everyone, to contribute to the general success of the cruise. It is definitely a team effort when you are at sea. The hours are long and the setting is not the most comfortable so it requires that everyone pitch in when they’re feeling up for it. We have a great group of scientists on board so it should not only be a learning experience but also very worthwhile scientifically.

What are your primary goals?
My primary research interests concern the ecological physiology of marine animals. I enjoy studying the complex associations between animals, particularly marine invertebrates, and their surroundings. The goal of eco-physiology is to identify and determine the adaptive significance of physiological mechanisms. I consider extreme environments the ideal place to accomplish this goal. Animals living in these environments are pushing the limits, or at least our perceived limits, of physiology and biochemistry. Obvious extreme environments include the deep-sea and sulfide-rich hydrothermal vents and seeps, which we will be exploring on this cruise.

What do you expect to find?
It is always hard to predict what you might find when exploring an area of the seafloor that has never been observed before. Past experience suggests that we will make many new discoveries, hopefully of wild and wonderful animals that are making a living in ways we could never imagine.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Being at sea can be the most peaceful and the most grueling of experiences. When you get a quiet moment at sea there is nothing that compares… the vast ocean really gives new perspective to our hectic lives on land. The least favorite: no routine exercise and none of my favorite foods (I eat tofu for a week when I get back from a 4 week cruise).

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Marine Biologist. I always knew I loved biology but it wasn’t until college that I gained exposure to the ocean and the possibility of becoming a marine biologist professionally. Educationally, it was sort of a natural progression from undergraduate study (where I majored in Biology/Marine Science) to a graduate doctoral degree at UC Santa Barbara (Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology). After that I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute as a post-doctoral researcher and stayed on for another 3 years as a research associate. After that I was hooked! I can’t imagine doing anything else with my career.


Ana Hilario   top of page
Ph.D. Student, Southampton University

What is your role on this cruise?
On this cruise I will be looking at reproductive aspects of vestimentiferans. I will also be assisting with the daily cruise logs to shore.

What are your primary goals?
My goal is to learn more about the biology and geology of the hydrothermal vents in the vicinity of the Easter and Juan Fernandez Microplates.

What do you expect to find?
Lots of tubeworms!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise... hmmm... the ocean! What I don't like? That's an easy one: waking up early in the morning!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am currently finishing my Ph.D. at Southampton University. I got into marine biology because of a curiosity in the ocean and all its living creatures. I studied aquatic sciences as an undergraduate at University of Porto (Portugal) and have spent the last 3 years in the Southampton Oceanography Center studying the reproduction of Vestimentiferan tubeworms from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.


karenjacobsen.jpg (40100 bytes)Karen Jacobsen   top of page
Scientific Illustrator, In Situ Scientific Illustration

What is your role on this cruise?
My role is to draw and paint all the sample material— mostly vent animal life and, also any “landscape” or scenery that is seen through video and or while diving in Alvin. I will visually record as much as possible, and be working with Cindy Van Dover’s and Bob Vrijenhoek’s team to produce anything they might need to assist with public outreach projects, or supplement their own research presentations.

What do you expect to find?
Although not involved directly with any specific research task, I expect to find an entire ecosystem of vent life that is new to me, and to fill my sketchbook pages with incredible images of the fauna found.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is being involved with the cruise in the first place. Tahiti –Easter will be my 8th cruise and Fiji/Lau will be my 9th, and I love the total emersion into my work that I don’t do when I am working at home. Transit days are often the most difficult for me, besides heavy seas or getting seasick. But being away from my loved ones is also hard, but email makes that so much better now.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
As mentioned before I am a scientific illustrator, or natural science illustrator, but I specialize in expedition illustration. I started life as an artist, and college as an art major, but I was always thinking there was something different for me to pursue within the field of art since my work was focused on what I could see, not abstract emotional representation. One day while walking through the science lab building en route to class, I saw a flyer for: Natural Science Illustration/For Science Majors and that was it, I knew what I was supposed to do. So I did it, and re-invented up my own career as expedition illustrator in the process. My first research trip was in 1984 with marine mammologists Bernie Le Boeuf from UCSC, and Karl Kenyon searching for the Caribbean Monk Seal, and since then I have done trips with archeological digs in the Middle East, old growth forests studies in Southern Chile, marine work from the Chukchi and Bering Seas, Japan and all sorts of blue water stops in between.


shannon.jpg (577416 bytes)Shannon Johnson  top of page
Research Technician, MBARI
http://www.mbari.org/staff/sjohnson/

What is your role on this cruise?
To assist with collecting and processing samples. I hope to make my first dive on Alvin as well!

What are your primary goals?
I am interested in sampling more gastropods and Lepetodrilid limpets from the SEPR for studies on population genetics.

What do you expect to find?
Lots of tubeworms like Riftia, with gastropods and limpets living on their tubes. Also polychaetes like Alvinellids as well as Bathymoliolid mussels.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part is when the animals first come up from the sub, it is really fun and exciting to see in person all the stuff you see on the screen in the control room. On the monitors, everything looks HUGE, then it comes up and it is so tiny. We are always finding new things and new species so it is very exciting work. The hardest thing will be being away from my fiancé, Shane, and my dog Cassy.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Research Technician. It was always my dream job. I have a hard time paying attention to any one thing for a really long time so research is great. Everything is always changing and you very seldom do the same thing for an extended time period. Being a tech is the best of both worlds because you are able to do original research and write papers, but you don't have to write grants to get funded. I became a technician as I was finishing graduate school. I started part-time at MBARI, then I got lucky and a got a full-time position.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you? 
I love my job!


Joe Jones, Ph.D.  top of page
MBARI Research Technician / Project Manager 

What is your role on this cruise?
My role on this cruise will be assisting with sorting and organizing organisms we bring up with Alvin. I will also be performing tissue dissections on samples we collect. I’m also responsible for making sure everything we need is on the ship for the dives as well as making sure all the samples and equipment get home safely. 

What are your primary goals?
My primary goal is to sort and preserve biological samples from the Alvin dives so that they are catalogued and archived. Additionally, my goal is to make sure all of the samples get back to our research lab in the best possible condition.  

What do you expect to find?
I hope to find additional populations of deep-sea animals that our lab is studying. We use genetic tools to determine relationships among hydrothermal vent organisms from throughout the Eastern Pacific. We have a general idea of what we’ll find, but the deep-sea is always full of surprises and new species. “Expect the unexpected” is my general motto when at sea.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is the total immersion (pun partially intended) in the dive and the sample processing. Working until 2 AM is not that bad with all the excitement of the new animals and rocks. Also, my favorite part with this particular cruise will be the opportunity to dive to the bottom of the ocean in the Alvin. It makes all the years (11 total) of hard work worth it! The least favorite part for me is being away from my loved ones and the garden. It’s hard to have a garden at sea.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
My official job title is Research Technician/Project Manager. I do a lot of DNA work including molecular biology and phylogenetics. I also do a lot of managerial work such as making sure the research lab is fully stocked and running smoothly. I am also responsible for managing the lab’s various project budgets. 

When I was growing up in South Carolina, my parents would take my sister and I to the beach for a family vacation. My parents encouraged my interest in nature and the ocean when I was about 5 years old. I became fascinated with the diversity of tide pools and learning about the tides. My family owns a lot of land with ponds and creeks where I spent a lot of time exploring. My fascination with fish, in particular, started when I was old enough to hold a fishing rod and has increased continuously since. Also when I was growing up, I was interested in how things work and why certain animals were found certain places and not others. I obtained my B.S. at the University of South Carolina in the Marine Science Program. I spent a lot of time volunteering in an ichthyology research lab where I became serious about my pursuit of a Ph.D. I also became involved with the Marine Science Undergraduate Society (MSUS) where I helped organize undergraduate research trips to local barrier islands. During my senior year, I did an independent research project in Dr. Joe Quattro's lab on population genetics of an estuarine flatfish. Dr. Quattro encouraged me to return to his lab after a brief summer at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) working as a visiting scientist. I returned to Dr. Quattro's lab where I became involved in a number of projects ranging from population genetic structure of summer flounder (my Masters thesis) to conservation genetics of pygmy sunfishes in the southeast United States. I moved to UC Santa Cruz following my Masters where I worked in Dr. Giacomo Bernardi's lab. I focused on two native California freshwater minnow species using DNA markers and phylogenetic methods. I’ve been working with Bob Vrijenhoek at MBARI for about 2 1/2 years now. It’s a great lab to be in with all the exciting projects and people. Plus, we all get to travel to exotic places to collect unusual animals with equipment such as the Alvin.


DLM color1.jpg (73539 bytes)Daniel Layton-Matthews  top of page
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto

What is your role on this cruise?
Shipboard Guest Investigator - Research Assistant

What are your primary goals?
My primary goal on this cruise will be the curation and handling of sulfide samples collected during the dives. These samples will provide material for a cooperative research study on mineralized samples involving the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, University of Kiel and MBARI.

What do you expect to find?
Previous dredging and TV grab sampling by the FS SONNE and NO L'ATALANTE cruises recovered rock samples from active and fossil hydrothermal vents together with abundant vent fauna. I anticipated finding seafloor sites with both active high temperature venting (>300 C) and lower temperature diffuse venting.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
This is my first research cruise, however based on my previous research projects involving remote fieldwork in the Canadian Artic, my least favorite part will likely be being away from my family. My favorite parts of any fieldwork project is the science and the people that you met along the way.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Geochemist/Economic geologist. Early in my academic career I became fascinated by the mechanisms of metal sourcing, mobility and concentration in the Earth's surface and subsurface. I also enjoy working in remote field areas, and since most new mineral deposits are found in new and often remote areas, my personal interests fit nicely with this type of research. My current research involves the sourcing, mobility and deposition of selenium (Se) in ancient and modern seafloor ore systems, which has allowed my participation in this research cruise.


V_Orphan_640.JPG (40214 bytes)Victoria Orphan, Ph.D.  top of page
Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology 

http://www.gps.caltech.edu/people/vorphan/profile

What is your role on this cruise?
To study hyperthermophilic (heat loving) microbial communities within and surrounding the hydrothermal vents and to assist with group related cruise objectives. The research on this cruise is very diverse- from geological mapping to micro and macro-ecology. Everyone works together and helps each other out with the various research tasks to ensure the major cruise objectives are met. 

What are your primary goals?
My research interests on this cruise relate to understanding anaerobic microbial carbon and sulfur cycling within hydrothermal vent systems and identifying the microorganisms mediating these geochemical processes. I am particularly interested in methane producing archaea, or methanogens, living in these extreme habitats and how they relate to the methanogenic microorganisms found in deep subsurface environments. 

What do you expect to find?
No extensive microbiological studies have been conducted in this area so it¹s tough to predict what we might find. Based on past experience from other hydrothermal vent environments, I anticipate that we will be able to successfully culture hyperthermophilic anaerobes from these new vents and will likely find microbial mats covering areas of the seafloor. Most of the detailed microbiological analyses (microscopy, DNA/RNA analyses) and potentially exciting discoveries will occur back in my laboratory after the cruise. 

What is your favorite part of a research cruise? 
I really enjoy the interactions with the research scientists and getting to know the crew while at sea. Spending many weeks on a research vessel allows for ample time to talk with the other scientists on board and to learn about their research. I also love the sense of adventure associated with deep-sea exploration. Most days offer something new and exciting and the only routine aspect of the research cruise is the meal times. During the less busy moments, I also enjoy the solitude afforded by a quiet little corner on deck, gazing up at the stars and having some quiet time to think. What is your least favorite part of a research cruise? I dislike feeling lethargic from the ship¹s rocking and banging my shin every time I climb into the top bunk. It¹s also difficult to maintain an effective exercise schedule while at sea which also contributes to feeling sleepy. No routine exercise and none of my favorite foods (I eat tofu for a week when I get back from a 4 week cruise). 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one?
Assistant Professor of Geobiology. Since the age of 6, the ocean and its inhabitants have intrigued me. I had many wonderful science teachers in junior high and high school who nurtured my interest in biology and marine science as well as supportive parents who encouraged me to try anything that interested me, from scuba diving to science camp. My interest and love of microbiology and geology developed later from research and courses in college and graduate school.


jennyHammer.jpg (34344 bytes)Jenny Paduan   top of page
MBARI Senior Research Technician
http://www.mbari.org/staff/paje/

What is your role on this cruise?
1) Assist with the multibeam sonar mapping to make bathymetry and side scan maps of the sites for the sub to navigate by and find hydrothermal vents during each dive; 2) Coordinate the daily cruise logs on the web for the educational outreach component of the expedition; 3) Collect samples of limu o Pele and glass rinds from lava flows. We want to determine if superfast spreading centers also produce small pyroclastic glass particles (limu o Pele), as we have found on slower spreading ridges. These would be evidence of mildly explosive eruptions, which have not been thought previously to occur in the deep sea. (More on explosive eruptions at mid-ocean ridges.) I will examine the suction sampler and sediment scoop samples after each dive to see if volcanic glass particles were collected along with the intended critters. I will also chip glass from any lava samples recovered so we can analyze the chemistry of the underlying flows to determine if the particles were derived locally.

What are your primary goals?
To make good quality, high-resolution maps; to have interesting daily updates published promptly; to bring home lots of volcanic glass samples.

What do you expect to find?
Beautiful hydrothermal vents, lots of glassy sheet flows, and hopefully limu o Pele.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite part: the excitement of discovery. Least favorite: being seasick.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I have always loved science: What are the plants around me, the animals, rocks, landforms, the stars? What are they made of? How did they get to be the way they are? What makes them function and persist? How are we impacting them? I love the interdisciplinary nature of Oceanography: to understand the ecology of an animal, you must also understand the chemistry, physics, and geology of its habitat. When I was young, I wanted to study volcanoes, then to become an astronomer, then a veterinarian. I was a biochemistry major at a liberal arts college, and went to graduate school to study marine biochemical ecology. Fortunately, along the way I took several geology courses, because my path has taken me full circle back to studying volcanoes! 


gregworm.jpg (34622 bytes)Greg Rouse, Ph.D.  top of page
South Australian Museum
http://www.ees.adelaide.edu.au/people/enviro/grouse01.html

What is your role on this cruise?
I work on polychaete annelids and we expect to find a diverse assemblage of these worms. I'll be photographing and processing the worms for morphological and molecular studies.

What are your primary goals?
To find as many wonderful worms as possible.

What do you expect to find?
A lot of wonderful worms. I'm very interested to see vestimentiferans since I have mainly worked on them 'from a distance'. We'll try removal techniques that might yield some other organisms not seen before.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite is when the samples come up and the processing begins. Least favorite is when its too rocky to photograph specimens well.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Senior Research Scientist; South Australian Museum.

I wanted to be a marine biologist as a boy. I enjoyed all the strange creatures I saw in rock pools by the shore. A Science degree followed by graduate school. An interest in photography and microscopes led me to worms and I've studied them ever since.


segonzac-JDD-02.jpg (180617 bytes)Michel Segonzac, Ph.D.  top of page
IFREMER

 

What is your role on this cruise?
My role is to sort and try to pre-identify the fauna collected. I will collaborate with Cindy Van Dover on the characterization of the invertebrate community at 38°S, with a special emphasis on the invertebrates that live in mussel beds.

What are your primary goals?
In addition to the primary goals described above, I plan to use a baited trap to collect the scavenging fauna of the vent communities, and to compare them with those from northern sites. These scavengers include octopus, crabs (and their ecto-parasites), galatheid crabs, shrimps, fish. This work contributes to the goal of developing a complete faunal inventory and will be undertaken in collaboration with Bob and Cindy. Another important goal of mine is to talk with my American colleagues and exchange ideas about the biology of the vent animals.  

What do you expect to find?
The animals cited above, plus other few known animals (and probably new species); plus other few known colleagues… to exchange ideas about the fauna.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I do not know exactly, but all is good for me. To meet new people, to taste American cooking, and other big pleasures and surprises!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
The same as above, and responsible of the sorting center Centob (IFREMER, Brest).

 I never decided. Chance decided for me. I have always studied biology, but first I worked on the ecology of marine birds in sub-Antarctic islands, then on mammal and bird ecology in West Africa (Senegal). For the past 30 years, I have managed the sorting center associated with the Deep-Sea Laboratory at the French oceanographic institution IFREMER, in Brest, France. 


NicoleStroncik.jpg (442994 bytes) Nicole Stroncik, Ph.D.  top of page
Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel

What is your role on this cruise?
Shipboard Guest Investigator - I will collect samples of glasses, chip glasses from recovered lava samples and prepare the glasses as well as the rest of the lava samples for geochemical analysis.

What are your primary goals?
My primary goals are to bring home a lot of fresh volcanic glasses for geochemical analysis. These glasses will be the basis for a cooperative research study on the geochemical and isotopic heterogeneity of submarine lava flows involving the University of Kiel and MBARI.

What do you expect to find?
During our cruises with the RV SONNE we recovered a large number of fresh and glassy lava flow samples using a dredge and a TV-grab, thus I anticipate to see a lot of nice sheet flows. Furthermore we did some video-mapping by OFOS down there showing some beautiful white smokers and I'm very curious if those are still there and how they will look now.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the cruise, as is with any fieldwork you do as a geologist, the thrill of discovery and meeting new people and see how other groups work. Also, my favorite part with this particular cruise will be the opportunity to dive with /Alvin/. For a geochemist working at such a remote place as a mid-ocean ridge the thrill of finally seeing the object of your studies in situ can only be compared to a space shuttle flight. My least favorite part is being away from my family and friends on land.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
My official job title is research assistant - but I'm a geologist specialized in geochemistry. In the first and in the last instance I became a geologist to satisfy my curiosity in how our planet works. Thus I studied geology and after getting my Diploma I started out to get my PhD, since this is the best way in Germany to make sure that you can work as a scientist in a research institute or at a university. So far I have never regret this decision.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
To be honest, being a research scientist is a lot of fun and I have never wanted to be anything else, but it gets damped down a bit by the never ending struggle for funding. Well, I guess this changes if you are able to find a permanent position.


J. Wallace-Annapolis.jpg (315128 bytes)Jessica Wallace   top of page
Graduate Student, The College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
My main role is to assist Cindy Van Dover and Michel Segonzac by sorting mussel bed samples, and to help in other ways as much as possible.

What are your primary goals?
My main objective is to help with sampling and learn as much as I can from my fellow scientists on the cruise. Our main goal is to describe the biogeography and community structure patterns of hydrothermal vent organisms around the Easter Microplate.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to find new species along the Pacific Antarctic Ridge south of the Easter Microplate. These vent communities may belong to the biogeographic province shared by the rest of the East Pacific Rise, or may be very different due to dispersal barriers.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
So far I have only been on one shorter cruise in the North Atlantic. Being in the middle of the ocean was incredibly beautiful, and it was fascinating to see what would come up from the deep. My least favorite parts are worrying that bad weather will keep us from doing our research, and missing the people back on land.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I have always loved the ocean, and my interest in the deep sea was sparked when I heard Bob Ballard speak at the U.S. Naval Academy during my junior year at William and Mary. I started working in Cindy Van Dover’s lab shortly thereafter, sorting Mid-Atlantic Ridge mussel bed samples. I am now finishing my last semester of my Masters degree in Cindy’s lab, describing the reproductive anatomy of vent polynoid polychaete worms from the East Pacific Rise. I love studying the deep sea since so little is known about such a large area of the planet.


ned.jpg (76860 bytes)Nerida Wilson, Ph.D.  top of page
Postdoctoral fellow, Auburn University

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be helping to sort samples collected from the vents and surrounding areas, and to then fix and process tissue for histology and molecular work.

What are your primary goals?
To make sure that this process gets done in a timely manner

What do you expect to find?
The only things I expect is to see are animals associated with hydrothermal vents! The rest is anybody's guess...

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite thing is simply being out on the water, and seeing things that I have never seen before. My least favorite part is not having fresh chocolate milkshakes or ice coffee.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Postdoctoral research fellow, Auburn University. I was always interested in seeing what washed up on beaches, and what lived in rockpools. Then I started to SCUBA dive and see many more animals in their natural environment. I think I have always wanted to be a biologist, so I did a science degree at university, and went on to do a Ph.D.


R_Young2_640.JPG (43097 bytes)C. R. (Robbie) Young  top of page
MBARI, Graduate Research Assistant

What is your role on this cruise?
I will identify, sort, and archive biological samples that we collect. I hope to collect tubeworms, clams, mussels, limpets, and other vent fauna associated with these communities. We will also examine the bacterial symbionts of these animals. I expect to find hydrothermal communities composed of mussel beds, tubeworm patches, and clams. 

What are your primary goals?
My primary goals are to examine the genetic structure of these populations and to compare the animals from these sites to animals collected from hydrothermal vent fields to the north. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the research cruise is seeing a vent field for the first time. My least favorite part of a research cruise is not being able to walk in one direction for more than 270 feet for weeks at the time. 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I’m a graduate research assistant. I am doing my research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and I am a student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). To be a scientist takes a lot of training, and I went back to school to get that training. I worked as a research technician for two years after getting my undergraduate degree in biology at the University of South Carolina. I moved to California in February of 2000 to work as a technician in Dr. Vrijenhoek’s lab at MBARI, and went back to school that August. I expect to graduate from UCSC at the end of this summer. My thesis includes three chapters. The first is on the genetic population structure of a hydrothermal vent tubeworm (Ridgeia) found on the Juan de Fuca, Gorda and Explorer (JGE) ridges in the northeast Pacific. I am comparing larval dispersal of these tubeworms to currents in the region predicted by a theoretical model of ocean circulation. The second and third chapters concern the development of statistical methods to analyze hybrid zones. I have also worked on several other studies while a student. I’ve been involved in genetic studies of mussels on the East Pacific Rise (EPR), bacterial symbionts of tubeworms on the EPR, and limpets on the JGE ridge system. I worked on mathematical models of spawning strategy in these systems and a model aimed at describing the effects of hunting policy on population dynamics (population growth) of large game animals in Tanzania. I’ve worked on phylogenetic studies, including species collected from hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean and a group of malaria carrying mosquitoes in South America.