Researchers


     

Leg 3 Researchers

Click on any name below to read an interview.

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Jeff Drazen

George Matsumoto

Brad Seibel

Rebeca Gasca

Karen Osborn

Robert Sherlock

Steven Haddock

Kim Reisenbichler

Edith Widder

William Hamner

Bruce Robison


Jeffrey Drazen (top of page)
MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow

 



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Rebeca Gasca
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ECOSUR-Chetumal

Maestra en Ciencias
 
http://www.ecosur.mx/

What is your role on this cruise? 
I will participate as a Mexican scientist observer. I want to collaborate with other researchers in investigating the biology of fronts by analyzing the basic aspects of deep-water zooplankton.
 

What are your primary goals? 
To determine new distributions of deep-water zooplankton and to obtain additional data on their diversity in order to improve the knowledge about these taxa. Samples will be used to increase the reference collections of the Mexican plankton fauna held in ECOSUR.
 

What do you expect to find? 
Maybe some undescribed taxa, new faunistic records, and most probably many previously recorded species. Deep zooplankton material is a gap we have in our institutional collections because of the difficulties to get good samples of the Mexican meso- and bathypelagic fauna.
 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise? 
My favorite is when the samples are brought up to the ship, a unique opportunity to see these creatures alive.
 

Least favorite is to be away from my family. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.? How did you become one?
Because I’m always both surprised and intrigued by the diversity and interesting biology of marine animals.
   


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Steve Haddock (top of page)
MBARI Scientist
 
http://www.mbari.org/staff/haddock/ 

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be studying bioluminescence of the organisms we collect. I am also going to be collecting jellies on blue-water scuba dives, and examining the species of siphonophores, ctenophores, and radiolarians. In addition, during the return transect, I hope
to survey the gelatinous species along the latitudinal gradient from Mexico to Monterey. 

What are your primary goals?
I hope to get a feeling for the differences (and similarities) in the deep-sea species of the Gulf of California. I am hoping to see some new species, and also I want to see a whale shark and manta ray during out dives! 

What do you expect to find?
I know some of the surface species which are found there, but I don't know what to expect for the deep-sea jellies. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite: seeing new weird animals
Least Fave: not getting much exercise 

Why did you decide to become a scientist?
It was the only thing that made me feel like I was coming close to satisfying my curiosity! 

How did you become one?
10% hard work, 20% persistence, 70% good fortune! 


William Hamner (top of page)
University of California, Los Angeles
http://www.ucla.edu/


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George Matsumoto (top of page)
MBARI Education and Research Specialist
http://www.mbari.org/staff/mage/

What is your role on this cruise?
I'll be helping out with the blue-water diving and with the midwater research. I'll also be sending back the daily web updates during the first leg of the Robison cruise.
 

 

What are your primary goals?
To learn more about the GOC ecosystem.

What do you expect to find?
Good question - I don't know! Past trips to this region have indicated that both Atlantic and Pacific gelatinous zooplankton live here, so I'll be curious to find out what we see this time.
 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is the excitement of being there, watching things unfold before our eyes and realizing that we are the first ones to observe the species or event. My least favorite is being away from my family!
 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one?
I decided to be a scientist after taking a weekend course that put a mask and snorkel on my face and literally and figuratively opened my eyes to the incredible ocean environment. I majored in marine biology at UC Berkeley and then went and taught for a summer at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. I found that I enjoy both research and education and went back to UC Los Angeles for a PhD degree. I think that I have landed in an ideal situation here at MBARI.
 


Karen Osborn (top of page)
MBARI Graduate Research Assistant

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a graduate student working on my Ph.D. dissertation research and helping with others research in my lab.                                   

What are your primary goals?
I would like to collect munnopsid isopods from this new location and have the chance to observe species never before observed in their natural habitat to better understand how this group of animals functions in the midwater community.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find an undescribed species or two of midwater and epibenthic munnopsids.  The munnopsids living in the Gulf of California are likely to be different than those we have in Monterey Bay.    

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of any research cruise is seeing new-to-science and new-to-me animals during the ROV dives, you can't help but remain riveted to the screens throughout the whole dive. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.? 
I like continually learning new things and the variety or ever-changing nature of a career in science.  

How did you become one?
Lots of motivation, study, hard work, and especially help from those around me.  There are some really great people doing science and that adds to the fun.


Kim Reisenbichler (top of page)
MBARI Senior Research Technician
http://www.mbari.org/staff/reki/

What is your role on this cruise?
I am the Sr. Research Technician with the Midwater Ecology group. My primary responsibilities on this cruise are to: 1) Work with others in the group to collect ROV video transecting data and to work with animals that we collect during the ROV dives; 2) Participate in blue water diving operations (open ocean, tethered scuba diving) where we do relative assessments of the abundance of the organisms we see and; 3) monitor the ROV midwater sampling equipment for proper function and to repair and/or modify these devices, as needed, to enable us to make the collections that a necessary to perform our research. In addition, I monitor, troubleshoot and at times repair the onboard chilled seawater system and environmental chamber that we use to maintain some of the animals we collect during the dives.
 

 

What are your primary goals?
My primary goals are to successfully contribute to making the observations and collecting the samples that are required to meet our mission goals.
 

 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the cruise is to have the opportunity to go out on the ocean and have the opportunity to observe what very few, if any, other people have had a chance to see first hand; how the animals are distributed within the upper water column between Monterey and Honolulu. In addition, the people that I have the pleasure to work with during this cruise are exceptional and I certainly can't complain about the food.
  My least favorite part of this cruise is leaving my family. I miss my wife, Liz, and my son and daughter, Scott and Sarah. I also feel badly about leaving Liz with the responsibility of caring for our children while dealing with the responsibilities of her own job.  

 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one? 
My decision to become a scientist was based upon my love of the outdoors, which was inspired by my Father's efforts to get my brother and I out fishing and hunting as often as possible. As I got into High School, I had the opportunity to work on our dairy farm where I learned to love building and repairing things, as well as taking care of animals. And after returning to an urban existence, I soon became aware that I needed to get an education that would allow me to do the types of work that I liked in an environment that I enjoyed being in.
  So, I started to upgrade my education at a Junior College where I prepared to go on to a University, as well as get a degree in Oceanographic Technology. I then transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara where I was able to work in the field as an undergraduate, met the man who has now been my boss and mentor for over 20 years, and received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in Marine Biology. Prior to receiving my M.S. degree I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at MBARI and I have been there ever since.   For those who are seriously considering getting into this field, I would suggest the following:
- Study hard and develop a good work ethic early (K-12).
- Try to really understand what you are learning (Don't just memorize).
- Get some real-world, non-science work experience before, or during
college. It helps you appreciate the relative freedom we have working in this field.
- Get experience in your chosen academic field during college by getting involved in work-study programs, internships, etc...... Along with good grades, this will give you an edge in the job market. The other side of this coin is that you may find by this experience that this is not the field for you and you can still adjust your career path while still in college.


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Bruce Robison
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MBARI Senior Scientist

http://www.mbari.org/staff/robr/
 

What is your role on this cruise?
I am Chief Scientist on Leg  3 and Expedition Leader for the entire operation.

What are your primary goals?
The midwater research team will be conducting a series of ROV dives in three of the deep basins that shape the Gulf of California.  We will count and observe the animals that live in the deep-water column in order to learn about their physiology, ecology, and distribution.   We will focus our investigations on how these animals respond to the strong oxygen minimum layer that occurs in the Gulf. We will also study their bioluminescence, and the role of oceanic fronts in determining their distribution patterns. 

What do you expect to find?
No one has ever used an ROV to study the midwater fauna of the Gulf of California, so we really have no precedents to tell us what we might  find  there. Of course that's what makes this so interesting—exploring where no one has gone before.  Based on what we have learned in Monterey Bay, we expect that a few specialized animals may be adapted to life in the core of the low-oxygen zone.  The physiological and behavioral adjustments that allow them to live there should be very interesting. Other species may have shifted their distribution patterns so that they occur chiefly above or below the depths where oxygen is at its lowest.  
One of the best things about exploration is that you never know for sure what you will find, but if you take a new tool to a new place, you are  bound to discover something new.  

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I love going to sea and being at sea. Oceanography is a science that is best conducted by being on the ocean, being in it, and being surrounded by it. There is no substitute for direct, real-time, at-sea experience. As Jimmy Buffett sings: "don't try to describe the ocean if you've never seen it." 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one? 
I grew up as a southern California beach kid. When I found out that you could get paid to do what I did for fun, it seemed like an obvious career choice.

It took a while to see the obvious. I had a series of undergraduate majors— Engineering, English, History, and Philosophy—before settling into science. But each of those false starts has helped to make me a better scientist. Eventually, I had the great good fortune to find my way to Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, where it all came together. 


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Brad Seibel
(
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MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow 



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Robert Sherlock
(
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MBARI Research Technician

http://www.mbari.org/staff/robs/

What is your role on this cruise?
On this cruise I'm functioning as a technician for the midwater lab and also as a blue water (research) scuba diver.

What are your primary goals?
To compare and contrast the organisms we see in the Gulf of California to those we observe in the Monterey Bay, to improve my Español, and to—in between cruises of course—find the best mole in La Paz.

What do you expect to find?
When we dive below 1000 m we never know exactly what we'll find. The Gulf of California has a dramatic oxygen minimum layer; similar to what we have here in the Monterey Bay, where oxygen levels are very low. However, the layer is much more broad in the Gulf. Potentially it could serve as an even more difficult boundary for organisms, and I'm curious to see what animals manage to cross it. Because of that boundary and because the Gulf of California is so long and narrow, I expect critters to differ from those we see off Monterey. I also expect many of them to be good at surviving in low oxygen levels and/or have a pronounced diel migration. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
 My least favorite is the inevitable: running out of Hagen Daaz bars.  Actually, it's watching an organism that we captured in a sampler 12 hours prior leak onto the deck when the ROV is retrieved.... or maybe it's running out of tape in the middle of a transect. The best part of a cruise is the feeling that comes from being more a part of the ocean than apart from it (which, unfortunately, also is inevitable after too many hours staring at the computer on my desk). 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one?   
I wanted to do something that was stimulating, challenging, and fun. Marine biology holds promise of all that as well as the thrill of discovery. Although research cruises are usually hard work and long hours, at no other time are these things more evident .  
Find scientists that do interesting things, get to know and help them. It's important to find more than one. Even if you begin by doing 'grunt' work, you'll see what science is about and be able to decide whether you want to pursue it as a career, a sideline (like a science writer), or not at all.  Scientist's advice and recommendations (to schools or future employers) will also help further you along. Keep this in mind as you wade through anoxic mud in an estuary, aspirate fruit flies from rotting cactus, or crunch through snow on your way to a collecting dive—all in the name of experience, of course!  



Edith Widder (top of page)
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution 
http://www.hboi.edu

Dr. Edith Widder is a Senior Scientist in Harbor Branch's Division of Marine Science where she heads up the Bioluminescence Program. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a B.S. Degree in Biology. She received her M.S. in Biochemistry and her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of California in Santa Barbara.   Two years after completing her Ph.D., Dr. Widder became certified as a Scientific Research Pilot for Atmospheric Diving Systems. She holds certifications that qualify her to dive the deep diving suit WASP as well as the single-person, untethered submersibles Deep Rover and Deep Worker. She has made well over 100 dives in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles. 

Dr. Widder's research has involved the development of a number of instrument systems for measuring bioluminescence, including the HIDEX-BP on which she co-holds the patent and which is now the standard in the U.S. Navy for measuring bioluminescence in the world's oceans. Her research has been featured in 6 television productions (2 BBC, 1 PBS, 2 Discovery Channel, and 1 National Geographic). The most recent one was the two-part Discovery Channel series "Forbidden Depths," which described research and diving with the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible in Cuban waters. 

Besides being an author on 60 scientific publications, Dr. Widder has produced a children's book on bioluminescence, The Bioluminescence Coloring Book, and an educational video, The Secret Lights in the Sea, which won the Silver Reel Award in Media Excellence for 2001.

See Dr. Widder's logbook updates posted on Harbor Branch's web at http://www.at-sea.org/missions/cortez/preview.html