Researchers


     

Leg 4 Researchers

Click on any name below to read an interview.

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Jim Barry

Mike Henry

Josh Plant

Amanda Bates

Joe Jones

Luis Soto

Dave Clague

Chris Lovera

Susan Von Thun

Peter Girguis

Jean Marcus Bob Vrijenhoek

Shana Goffredi

 

 

Jim Barry (top of page)

MBARI Benthic Ecologist

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

 



 

Amanda Bates (top of page)
Ph.D. Student, University of Victoria

http://web.uvic.ca/staff/abates/ 




Dave Clague (top of page)

Senior Scientist

 http://www.mbari.org/staff/clague/

 

What is your role on this cruise?

Provide navigation support for Vrijenhoek dives to assist in locating vents for sampling and to collect volcaniclastic samples to evaluate whether eruptions along spreading centers have a mildly explosive component.

 

What are your primary goals?

We have recently found that eruptions along the Gorda Ridge, a moderate-rate spreading center in the northeast Pacific, produce glassy bubble-wall fragments during mildly exposive eruptions. We want to sample for such sand-sized particles along the faster-spreading East Pacific Rise to determine if this eruption style is widespread along mid-ocean ridges.

 

What do you expect to find?

We expect to collect sediments that contain sand-sized glass particles formed during explosive eruptions. recovery of such small fragments requires collection

using a specially designed submarine vacuum cleaner and small push-cores with custom core-catchers.

 

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

Best part is that each day brings surprises and new discoveries that require frequent and rapid modifications of the plan to accomplish the goals. Worst part is when weather or equipment prevents accomplishing the carefully planned program.

 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.?

I decided to become a scientist because it is exciting and rewarding to figure

out how even a small part of the world works.

 

How did you become one?

Took all the math, physics, chemistry, and geology I could squeeze into my high school and undergraduate schedules. Then went to graduate school in marine geology.




girguis1-small.jpg (18937 bytes)

Peter Girguis (top of page)
MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow

 

What is your role on the cruise?
I'll be looking for microbes involved in methane cycling. In particular, we are interested in Archaea that anaerobically oxidize methane. My secondary role on this cruise is to fling as much mud around the ship as possible. 

What are your primary goals?
Besides the mud flinging, I hope to find organisms that oxidize methane at higher temperatures than we are used to thinking about. In addition, I hope to find some geochemical markers that tell us something about hose fast the microbes eat this methane. 

What do you expect to find?
I'm not sure what to expect, but that's the fun of it all.  

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
The best part of a research cruise is the opportunity to visit site that I've never been to before. Also, it's a chance to spend time with colleagues who are interested in many of the same questions. In my experience, two heads (or more) are always better than one. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one?
I went to UCLA, where I studied Italian history and archaeology. A couple of years later, I found myself intrigued by oceanography, and soon realized that there were so many interesting questions that remain unanswered. It's almost beyond belief, but as a scientist you stumble across new and interesting questions every time you stop and look around.




Shana Goffredi (top of page)

MBARI Research Technician

What is your role on the cruise? 
I'm responsible for making sure we collect samples that everyone needs (including mostly animals and sediment), as well as dissecting animals and making chemical measurements on both water samples and pore waters within the sediment samples. 

What are your primary goals? 
From an ecological perspective, our goal is to correlate environmental parameters with the presence or absence of certain major hydrothermal vent animal groups. From a physiology perspective, I hope we are able to also correlate these environmental variations with physiological and biochemical differences (i.e. adaptations). And, finally, from a biogeographic perspective, we hope to follow the deep sea transition from a sedimented vent site (Guaymas hot vents), through a cold-seep area (Guaymas transform fault) and low temperature vent area (Tamayo Fracture Zone), to a strictly basaltic hot vent (at 21 degrees N latitude, East Pacific Rise), again comparing the major animal groups (tubeworms, clams, and snails, to name a few). We will use both ecological data as well as molecular data to complete the story. In particular, I'm interested in collecting clams from these areas to add to our already existing dataset. Some of these results have been recently published, but a few species have been elusive. We plan to collect them during this cruise to complete another story concerning the evolutionary relationships and biogeography of vesicomyid clams species.  

What do you expect to find? 
We expect to find lush animal communities at both the Guaymas hot vents and the hot vents at 21 N EPR. Very little is known about the environmental conditions that vent animals actually experience, thus we plan to collect animals and make chemical measurements in these areas. Between these two areas, however, is a bit of a black box. We have hints that other similar animal communities exist between known sites (particularly at the Guaymas transform fault and the Tamayo fracture zone), however, much of our dives in this area will be exploration. Our hope is to find new vents and seep sites that contain animals related to known vent and seep animals. This would be invaluable as far as piecing together the puzzle of how animals in the deep sea travel between suitable habitats, as well as how animals adjust to changing environmental conditions. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise? 
Favorite - Being at sea, that far from civilization, makes me appreciate the vastness of the ocean. It's so nice to notice the stillness (no cars, no strange smells, very little noise). It's a great place to meditate.

Least favorite - not being able to run more than 25 feet in any direction. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist? How did you become one?
I always knew that I loved biology (my bug collection growing up proved it). I also had a great physical science teacher in junior high who inspired me to pursue science. Although I grew up in Colorado, I was somehow exposed to the ocean (many trips to California and the Caribbean). I moved from Colorado to California to go to college (University of San Diego) where I majored in Biology/Marine Science. It was in this setting, a small school with one-on-one instruction, which sealed my fate. I then moved north to Santa Barbara to get a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UCSB. (My thesis work was actually on the physiological adaptations of the hydrothermal vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila, an animal that we are likely to encounter during this cruise.) From there, I moved even further north to MBARI, where I currently work. I marvel everyday at the fact that I actually get to work on something that I love—most people probably can't say that.
 




Mike Henry (top of page)

University of California, Santa Barbara

http://www.ucsb.edu/  

What is your role on the cruise?
I will be performing blood gas and pH work on the tubeworm, Riftia pachytilla, as well as collecting vent crabs (Bythograea thermydron) for later live experiments in our land lab. 

What are your primary goals?
To fulfill the above role. 

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find that sitting on the surface having a snack and coffee is much more pleasant than sitting at the bottom of the ocean in a tiny titanium sphere with two other guys having a snack and coffee. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
The favorite time is the rare instance of novel, interesting data being collected. The least favorite time is the much more common equipment failure and subsequent repair. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one?
The cliché of the child always interested in nature is well applicable. As I grew older I moved on to other things but finally realized that this is where my interest lies. I became a scientist by following the normal academic route, and now am a grad student designing and performing my own experiments.



Joe Jones (top of page)
MBARI Research Technician

 

What is your role on this cruise?

My role on this cruise will be assisting with sorting and organizing organisms we bring up with the ROV. I will also be performing tissue dissections and DNA extractions on tissue samples we collect.

 

What are your primary goals?

One of our primary goals on this trip is to determine if there are new populations of deep-sea mussels in the Gulf of California. We also will be collecting tubeworms, clams, gastropods, and other invertebrates for DNA analysis in our land-based lab.

 

What do you expect to find?

We expect to find several new populations of deep-sea mussels (at least in the southern part of the Gulf of California). Previous exploration by geologists in the southern part of the Gulf of California found bivalve shells but no living critters. We hope to determine if deep-sea organisms found on the East Pacific Rise (EPR) are found in the Gulf of California.

 

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

My favorite part of this cruise will be the fact that this will be the first research cruise I've gone on. This cruise will also be my first trip to Mexico and Baja. I'm very excited about seeing the Tiburon in action and the new organisms we'll be collecting. Undoubtedly, the worse part of the cruise is being seasick.

 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.?

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.

 

How did you become one?

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 Master’s thesis) to conservation genetics of pygmy sunfishes in the southeast United States.

 

I moved to UC Santa Cruz following my Master’s where I worked in Dr. Giacomo Bernardi’s lab. I focused on two native California freshwater minnow species using DNA markers and phylogenetic methods. After my Ph.D., I went to Germany where I worked in Dr. Axel Meyer’s lab on color genes in a Central American cichlid fish. Currently, I am working as a research technician for Dr. Bob Vrijenhoek at MBARI.




Chris Lovera
(
top of page)

MBARI Research Technician

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

 

 




jeanalvin1jpg.jpg (39409 bytes)Jean Marcus (top of page)

University of Victoria

 

 

What is your role on this cruise?

I will be helping sort the tubeworm bush samples. I am very familiar with vent species on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and have a lot of experience identifying polychaetes.

 

What are your primary goals?

Our aim is collect 3 tubeworm bushes (and the associated species) coupled with habitat data from three distinct venting locations. For each collection we will measure species richness and community structure. The ultimate goal is to determine if the communities differ significantly between sites, and if so, to relate these differences to site characteristics. We predict that habitat factors such as substratum type and fluid properties (e.g. hydrogen sulphide) are the main drivers of community variation.

 

What do you expect to find?

Again, we expect to find site-to-site differences in vent communities that are explained by differences between the sites in substratum and fluid properties (e.g. hydrogen sulphide).

 

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

Favorite things: working with ROVs, meeting new people and nightly stargazing.

Least favorite things: lack of sleep and missing my family and friends.

 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.?

As long as I can remember I've been fascinated with the ocean. I've been an avid scuba diver since I was 14, and always wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up!

 

How did you become one?

My path was a bit unconventional. I first completed a degree in philosophy and german, and afterwards completed a second undergrad degree in Marine Biology. I worked with marine mammals for my BSc honours thesis, and before grad school I studied intertidal polychaetes in Bermuda. For the past 5 years I've been studying the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeast Pacific. I hope to complete my PhD this term!




Luis Soto (top of page)

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

 http://www.unam.mx/



Susan Von Thun (top of page)
MBARI Research Technician 
http://www.mbari.org/staff/svonthun/ 

What is your role on the cruise?    
My role is to annotate the video on the cruise using MBARI's current video annotation system VICKI. This system will be used to take framegrabs, record samples, and identify marine organisms, geological features, and equipment that we see during the ROV dives. I'm also going to be helping with sample processing once the ROV returns to the ship at the end of the dive.  

What are your primary goals?
My goals are to identify as many of the organisms as possible. The habitat in the Gulf of California is very different from that of the Monterey Bay, so there may be organisms that we aren't used to seeing. We have lots of experts who study hydrothermal vents on this cruise, so I expect to be able to identify most of the things we see. Another primary goal as video annotator will be to mark all of the samples with their sample numbers in the annotation file and take a framegrab as the sample is being collected. This allows us to easily identify each sample when the ROV is recovered. My personal goal is to learn as much as I can from the diverse group of scientists that will be on the cruise. 

What do you expect to find?             
On this cruise we will be looking at hydrothermal vents from the Guaymas Basin all the way to the East Pacific Rise. These habitats are home to unique organisms like vestimentiferan tubeworms, vesicomyid clams, and many other organisms that have adapted to the harsh environment at hydrothermal vents.  

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?  
My favorite parts of a research cruise are learning from the experts, seeing a new environment, and just being on the water. Every time I go out to sea, not only do I see all of the cool deep-sea critters on the video, but lots of marine mammals, birds, and other surface dwellers. I really feel like I get to be a part of that environment for a while when I'm at sea.           

My least favorite part of a research cruise is being away from home. I will be missing my boyfriend, my cat, and my dog while I'm gone, but I'm sure they'll survive without me for 2 ½ weeks! 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc?   
I have always loved and cared about marine life, the ocean, and the environment. Ever since I was a kid, I knew that some day I would be a marine biologist. I remember going to the New York Aquarium and the Baltimore Aquarium and my parents had a hard time tearing me away.  

How did you become one?    
In high school I worked hard in all of my classes because I knew I would have to in order to become a scientist. Some of my teachers and my parents convinced me that in college I should major in environmental science instead of marine biology, which they thought would narrow my opportunities. I received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware, which was a multi-disciplinary program that exposed me to many different fields of science (and you can't get away without taking lots of math courses!). My senior year I took a field ecology course and I was hooked. I had always known that I wanted to be outside and study the environment and the organisms in it, but that class really made my goals clear to me. I also did an internship at the Baltimore Aquarium that year, which made me realize that I definitely wanted to work in the marine environment.           

I applied to graduate schools and decided to make the leap across the country to work on a Masters in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Labs. I remember the second week in the program counting gastropods in the mud flats for a Marine Ecology class and thinking, I can't believe I am in school right now—this is so fun! I studied larval settlement of benthic invertebrates for my thesis and then got the opportunity to work for MBARI's video lab. In the year and a half that I have worked here, I have learned about deep-sea invertebrates and fish, cold seeps, hydrothermal vents, lava formations, and geological processes—all while annotating MBARI ROV dive tapes! I feel really fortunate to be in a position where I am paid to keep learning every day!





Bob Vrijenhoek
(
top of page)

MBARI Senior Scientist

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

 

What is your role on the cruise?

I am the chief scientist for this cruise. I will be responsible for determining the dive targets and coordinating the shipboard efforts of a diverse team of scientists, including chemists, geologists, zoologists, and microbiologists. Developing a dive strategy that meets the needs of this diverse group is the greatest challenge.

 

After the cruise, I will coordinate efforts by these scientist to develop a

comprehensive picture of ecological and evolutionary changes across the

hydrothermal vent fields we plan to visit.

 

What are your primary goals?

Our immediate goal is to obtain biological, chemical, and geological samples

from a series of hydrothermal vents in and out of the Gulf of California. In

the Gulf, the Guaymas Basin hydrothermal springs (27 degrees north latitude)

sit on top of 600 meters of sediment that covers the hard-rock bottom. Superheated vent water leaches through these sediments and delivers a

rich mixture of reduced gases (mostly hydrogen sulfide) and hydrocarbons to

the bacteria and animals that colonize the areas around hot springs.

 

Outside the Gulf, hydrothermal vents at 21 degrees north latitude are not sedimented. They occur in hard rock (basalts) produced by recent lava flows. Here the chemistry is simpler and the animal diversity changes substantially to a fauna that is characteristic of the East pacific Rise system. However, vestimentiferan tubeworms, a few snails, and some crustaceans occupy both the sedimented and unsedimented ecosystems. We also plan to explore the Tamayo Fracture Zone, a geographically intermediate locality that might comprise a transition zone between the sedimented and unsedimented regions.

 

Back at MBARI, we will quantify the differences in community composition and

examine the rates of animal dispersal (gene flow) among these localities spread across 300 kilometers of ocean bottom.

 

What do you expect to find?

Based on my earlier expeditions to the Guaymas and 21 north vents, I expect

to find giant (3-6 foot long) tubeworms, Riftia pachyptila, that create large bushes in which many other animals live. You could look at them as trees in the forest with all the attending birds, insects, etc. I also expect to see different species of clams at the two ends of the sampled range. This raises questions about which species will occupy the intermediate locality at Tamayo. Much of our work will focus on identifying all the little critters that live in the tubeworm forest. We hope to assess whether the chemical and microbial environment of these bushes is related in some way to the composition of the animal communities.

 

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

The few weeks before a cruise are always hectic with all the attending worries about your equipment getting there intact. I don't like to travel much anymore, so the flights and all the aggravation dealing with customs and immigration going to and from a cruise are very tiring.

 

But, 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.

 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you

become one?

Basically, I am still a 9-year old boy who won't stop asking simple questions, and who is rarely satisfied with the answers. So, I have to learn it for myself. I can't remember a time as a child that I didn't want to be a biologist of some kind. In high school and college, I wanted to be a biology teacher or a veterinarian. My college professors recognized my curiosity and encouraged me to go to research seminars and engage in research projects, and that was it! The fun of learning something new, just for its own sake, was the major attraction for a career as a scientist. I went to graduate school, earned a Ph.D., and have been a college professor and research scientist ever since.