Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Fiji/Lau Expedition, May 15 - June 3, 2005

Click on any name to read an interview from the scientists. 

Robert Vrijenhoek, Cindy Lee Van DoverLizzie Blake, Todd Bliss, Katharine CoykendallKristin Erickson, Shana Goffredi, Taylor Heyl, Ana Hilario, Karen Jacobsen, Shannon Johnson, Amanda Jones, Joe Jones Carol Logan, Vicki Orphan, Joshua Osterberg, Fred Pleijel, Greg Rouse, Suzanne Schmitt, Michel Segonzac Anders Warén, 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 goal is to obtain biological samples from a series of hydrothermal vents in the Lau Basin and North Fiji Basin.

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 from mussel beds and compare Western Pacific communities 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?
Because we are diving in an extremely remote location, 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.


l_blake.JPG.jpg (138011 bytes)Lizzie Blake   top of page
Graduate Student, College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise? 
My job on this cruise is to sort samples from the vent sites. And to fix and preserve samples for further observations.

What are your primary goals? 
My primary goals are to collect tons of samples of hydrothermal vent invertebrates to study for my Masters’ thesis and to learn new techniques of studying vent fauna.

What do you expect to find?
I expect find many lovely patches of bivalves, new species or two, and GOLD!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I don’t know yet, I have never been on a research cruise yet. I just hope I don’t get seasick.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I have always been interested in the unknown. The deep ocean comprises over 70% of the earth, but so little is known about it. If you put in a little effort you are bound to discover something nobody has ever known before. I have worked in Cindy Van Dover’s lab for the past four years. I love the opportunities I have had in her lab. 


toddks.jpg (52049 bytes)Todd Bliss   top of page
Biology Teacher, Pacific Grove High School

What is your role on this cruise? 
I will funnel information regarding the cruise to the MBARI website. I will also be the liaison to several schools on the Monterey Peninsula.

What are your primary goals? 
My primary goals are to effectively relay information to the MBARI website and to help create interest among K-12 students from Pacific Grove, Monterey and Carmel schools.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find many bright, creative science types who will tell stories taller than Sequoias in Death Valley.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I have never been on a cruise this lengthy. I am looking forward to learning more biology, doing anything I can to help out and being a positive influence on the students of my district.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a high school biology teacher. I decided to use my biology education to put food on the table and join a retirement system. I became one after many years as a naturalist. I got very fortunate fifteen years ago to take over for a teacher who retired mid-year. I am still at it. 


K_Coykendall_640.JPG (41102 bytes)Katharine Coykendall   top of page
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.

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? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Graduate research assistant. My undergraduate major was marine science, my graduate work is in genetics. 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! 


100_1323.jpg (614323 bytes)Kristin Ericksontop of page
Graduate Student, College of William and Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
My role is to ensure that our sampling technique is successful. Once we have the samples in hand I will be recording data and then preparing, processing and fixing mussel and polychaete samples for future observations. Then I can jump in wherever I’m needed!

What are your primary goals?
My primary focus is on accumulating samples for my thesis work with Dr. Van Dover. This entails collecting and preserving specimens from mussel beds along with preserving polynoid (scale worm) specimens. My studies will help gain a better understanding of the astounding diversity associated with polychaete reproduction and life history. I will also be working with the community structure of mussel beds at hydrothermal vents and seeps. The data collected from such secluded locations as Fiji/Lau will provide information to help answer many questions concerning biogeography.

What do you expect to find?
An amazing new world! I associate vents with unexpected not expected…the mystique surrounding them is what intrigues me!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
This is my first hydrothermal vent cruise, but having experienced research cruises in the past I would have to say my favorite thing is meeting new people and the traveling!! This is such a brilliant opportunity to learn new techniques and obtain information from scientists who have devoted their lives to these systems…not to mention experiencing this mystifying world first hand! I can’t say that I have a least favorite. The cruise, samples, experience and mystery will all end too soon and yet not soon enough at times…it’s all to new and exciting to think about least favorites.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Currently, I am a graduate student at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
I truly knew I wanted to work in marine biology after taking a field research course in Jamaica. Keep in mind that a scuba certification and marine biology courses are kind of hard to come by in Illinois (thanks Mom and Dad!), but that course at Rock Valley College with Dr. Vee hooked me. After that my Embryology professor, Dr. Muhlach at SIUC, grabbed my attention and I’ve been interested in reproduction ever since. After my undergraduate work at SIUC I decided to put my theoretical work into practice. I took the opportunity to work first as an educator/aquarist at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, an animal trainer at Sea World and finally in research and rehabilitation of sea turtles at the Marine Life Center. Taking the time to experience the many disciplines of science I saw the opportunities that awaited me as a graduate student. I took a job at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and began taking courses while I searched for the right sub discipline and advisor. Luckily I found Dr. Van Dover and the world of hydrothermal vents.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
You can’t imagine the opportunities this field provides. I can’t imagine having not taken advantage of them…and I wouldn’t be able to without my friends and family! Thanks for taking care of my pups Todd!


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.


Taylor Heyl   top of page
Research Technician, College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
My role on this cruise is to help the Van Dover lab with the sampling of deep-sea mussel communities 
using the ROV Jason II, to assemble mussel pots after each Jason dive and to process samples collected in the pots.

What are your primary goals?
My primary goals are to assist with sampling of hydrothermal vent invertebrates, especially mussel communities, and to learn more about the biology and geology of vents within the Fiji/Lau basins. 

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find large communities of mussels and maybe even clams. I am hoping to see some seep fauna as well. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the cruise is being involved with deep submergence vehicles that give us a chance to visit the deep sea, to explore, and to see a completely unknown view of the world. My least favorite part of the cruise is the transit home. 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I just finished a master's degree at the College of William & Mary in marine biology, studying clams and their environment at a deep-sea cold seep. I have wanted to study in the deep sea since I was 8 years old. My father took me to a deep-sea seminar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and as soon as I saw the deep-submergence vehicle, Alvin, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. I studied marine science as an undergraduate, working in several laboratories to get research experience, and when I graduated, moved to Kodiak, Alaska to work on fish in the Gulf of Alaska. I found a researcher in Kodiak studying deep-sea crabs on seamounts in the Gulf of Alaska. When he saw my enthusiasm, he asked me to work for him, took me on a deep-sea research cruise and gave me my first Alvin dive. After that, I was hooked! I moved to Virginia to work with Cindy Lee Van Dover. In her lab, I was given opportunities to go to sea, to travel all over the world and to do what I love most of all, to study the world at the bottom of the ocean.


hilario_copy.jpg (29189 bytes)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.


carol.jpg (138182 bytes)Carol Logan  top of page
Undergraduate Student, College of William & Mary

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be helping Cindy Van Dover sort and prepare samples from mussel beds and assisting in any other way I can.

What are your primary goals?
To learn what I can about hydrothermal vent communities and see the giant tubeworms and other unusual and rare creatures that live at the bottom of the ocean.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
This is my first research cruise so I don't have any least favorites yet. I'm excited about everything new that I will see and learn on the trip.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I first learned about the ocean and the deepsea with all its mysteries from my older brother and have found it fascinating ever since. I love aquariums and learning about life in the ocean, especially recent discoveries. I had the opportunity to join Cindy Van Dover's lab this past winter and now study it first hand. I am working on my senior honors thesis studying strange inclusions in mussel digestive tissue.


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. 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. 

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

What do you expect to find?
Lots of tubeworms and gastropods and limpets living on their tubes. Also polychaetes and 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 still love my job!


amanda_jonesks.jpg (78062 bytes)Amanda Jones    top of page
Research Assistant, MBARI

What is your role on this cruise?
My role is to help process samples that are collected using the ROV Jason II and contribute in any way I can to the overall success of this research cruise.

What are your primary goals?

My primary goal is to help ensure that the organisms we collect for later study are properly dissected, preserved and labeled. This will help things go smoothly once we are back in the lab. I also hope to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and learn as much as I can from our research and the other scientists onboard. 

What do you expect to find?

Hopefully we will find lots of organisms associated with hydrothermal vents and seeps. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?

My favorite part of participating in this type of research is being able to travel, meet new people and be completely immersed in science. My least favorite part of fieldwork is not being with loved ones back home. I will really miss our hound, Foxie, and being able to talk to my family whenever I want. (Thanks Dad for house/dog sitting!) 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?

I am a Research Assistant in Dr. Vrijenhoek's lab at MBARI. In elementary school I took a trip on a glass bottom boat near Catalina Island. After that, I was convinced that I wanted to study some aspect of marine biology. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. While at UCSC, I took advantage of opportunities to work with marine mammals in both lab and field settings. Since I have graduated, I have been very fortunate to be able to work in remote island field stations studying marine birds and Hawaiian Monk seals. I also have done quite a bit of work with informal science education. Marine science is a great hook to get kids interested in the science they are being taught in school. My latest and greatest job is to work in the Monterey Bay area at MBARI. It is truly amazing how much talent is concentrated around the bay.


joe_port_alvinlt_copy.jpg (73048 bytes)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 Jason. 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 Jason 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. On the last cruise that I was on, I got to dive in Alvin twice! Also, my partner in crime (Amanda) will join us for this expedition.

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.


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.


jso6acpub_Osterberg_cropped.jpg (42761 bytes)Joshua Osterberg  top of page
Ph.D. Student, Duke University

http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/marinelab/people/phdstudents/osterberg

What is your role on this cruise?
My role aboard the Melville will to be assist Dr. Van Dover with mussel collections, sample preparation and processing, as well as help out with whatever else needs to be done to make this cruise successful for everyone. I will also be collecting larval and juvenile crabs of the genus Austinograea and will be performing behavioral experiments to determine what kinds of chemical and physical cues the crabs use to locate vents.

What are your primary goals?
My goal is to collect larval (megalopa stage) and juvenile stage crabs and keep them alive. Megalopa and juvenile stages of a related crab found on the East Pacific Rise survive at atmospheric pressure, and I hope these crabs can too! If I can collect crabs and keep them alive I will be very happy. If they live at the surface I can perform all sorts of assays to try to determine how they find their way around vents.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find that the larval stages of this crab can survive at atmospheric pressure. I hypothesize that they display behaviors similar to those of estuarine crabs, just perhaps in response to different cues.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise? 
This will be my first cruise using the ROV Jason II, so learning how it works and learning its capabilities and handicaps will be very exciting. My favorite part of cruises is meeting all of the other participants and experiencing hydrothermal vent ecosystems first hand. My least favorite part of cruises is being away from the people I love. 

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a graduate student at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC where I study the chemical ecology of estuarine and deep-sea hydrothermal vent crabs with my advisor Dr. Dan Rittschof. I studied under Dr. Van Dover at the College of William & Mary as an undergrad and took my first dive in Alvin as an undergrad. I have always been captivated by the deep-sea but after my first Alvin dive I knew I wanted to go to graduate school to study hydrothermal vents. It has been a wonderful experience so far and I can not imagine doing anything else. Traveling all over the world (to places like Fiji!), diving to the bottom of the ocean, studying one of the most extreme environments on Earth, finding new species...does it get any better than this?!


pleijel.jpg (55702 bytes)Fredrik Pleijel, Ph.D.   top of page
Professor, Göteborg University


What is your role on this cruise?

Collecting, identifying and processing animals (mainly polychaetes, marine bristle worms) for morphological and molecular analyses

What are your primary goals?
Phylogenetic analyses of a series of polychaete groups from hydrothermal vents

What do you expect to find?
To find new, unknown polychaetes but also previously but poorly known ones and that can be used for both morphological and molecular studies. It will allow me to get access to specimen in excellent condition from a special and rich environment that is very difficult to access.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise? 
Favorite: collecting beautiful and strange invertebrates. Least favorite: trying to work in very rough weather.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Polychaete taxonomist. During classes in marine biology at the university I became fascinated by the fact that worms can be so amazingly diverse and wonderful. Initially also that it was a nightmare/challenge to identify and put names on them (actually it often still is). So I continued these classes with a Masters and a Ph.D. on taxonomy and phylogeny of polychaetes.


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.


IMG_1414.jpg (242377 bytes)Suzanne Schmitttop of page
Ph.D. Student, Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Wuerzburg, Germany

What is your role on this cruise?
I hopefully will collect and preserve a lot of different sponges for further microscopic and molecular studies and I will also take water samples.

What are your primary goals?
Back home I will investigate the microbiology of deep sea sponges. My goal is to characterize the microbial diversity, the abundance and distribution of bacteria in the deep sea sponges and compare this microbial community to bacteria found in the surrounding seawater and to bacteria associated with sponges from different environments such as shallow coral reefs. These studies will help to get a better understanding of this amazing association.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find a lot of sponge diversity. Because there is very little known about deep sea sponges I expect to find only poorly described and/or new species. It will be very interesting to see what kind of bacteria these sponges harbour.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I have not been on such a cruise before so I don't know exactly what to expect. But I am very excited to see the life down there and I am curious about the deep sea animals that will be sampled during the cruise.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany in the lab of Dr. Ute Hentschel and I have worked in this lab for over four years now. I was always interested in biology and especially in ecology and evolution. Therefore, sponges with their long evolutionary history and their association with enormous amounts of diverse bacteria are a perfect subject to me. Now, to go into deep sea research is really exciting because there is so much to discover…


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, 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.


IMG_5380_cropped.jpg (185941 bytes)Anders Warén  top of page
Museum Curator and Research Scientist

http://www.nrm.se/forskningochsamlingar/djur/evertebratzoologi/personal/anderswaren.143.html

What is your role on this cruise? 
I will study the gastropod fauna in the hydrothermal vents and assist others with species identifications.

What are your primary goals? 
To get hold of some little known species I know to live in the study area for further examination and  perhaps find some previously unknown species.

What do you expect to find?
What I expect to find is mainly what I know from other expeditions to this area, but for many of the animals I need better, very young specimens or fully adult ones. Usually the vent fauna is uniform and boring with quite a few species and very many specimens to examine. But, there is all the time the thrill: will there come a totally unknown and strange snail? At least twice before this has happened during the exploration of hydrothermal vents.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
When you start examining a new sample or catch and you get an idea of the quality of the collect. The part I like the least  is all the waiting. Sometimes it takes up to a week to get to the place where you work and a week to return. I usually bring some work to fill empty hours but I usually discover that I did not bring everything needed.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am mainly a research scientist, but I am also taking care of museum collections of invertebrate animals. To become a  research scientist is quite different today then when I started almost 40 years ago. Of course, I started with University studies. But after I had got the basic academic degree, I started my Ph.D. studies, which  then were very free and mostly consisted of my own studies and not a single scheduled course. To survive this time I worked as an assistant  teacher of the basic courses in invertebrate zoology. After some 6 years, a so-called supervisor asked if it was not  time to graduate soon. So I started a new project I thought would be more successful  than my earlier projects, and got a Ph.D. 3 years later. Then the Swedish NSF granted a 6 year research project. After that I found a permanent position at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, where I  have remained. I have continued with research on marine snails and become engaged in some international projects. A couple of years ago I met Bob Vrijenhoek, our expedition leader, and we realized that  that we could both profit from working together.


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.