Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Ridges 2005 Expedition, August 7- September 2, 2005

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

Dave Clague, Bill Chadwick, Gillian Clague, Brian Cousens, Alicé Davis, Nick Delich, Bob Embley, Kim Fulton-Bennett, Jim Head, Laura Karrei, Amanda Jones, Joe Jones, Linda Kuhnz, Larry Mastin, Jenny Paduan, Fred Pleijel, Stephanie Ross, Lionel Wilson, Rob Zierenberg

Dave Clague, Ph.D.    top of page
MBARI Senior Scientist

What is your role on this cruise?
I am the Chief Scientist on the cruise.

What are your primary goals?
There are lots of things I hope we can determine. I’ll put the goals into a series of questions I hope we can answer when the cruise is over. First off, do voluminous eruptions, such as those on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, also produce lava bubbles during mildly explosive eruptions? How long does it take for benthic animals to colonize new lava flows and can we use that to estimate the ages of lava flows? How do you make a lava pond that has levees 90 m tall and where did all that lava go when the pond drained and the crust collapsed? When lava erupts through sediment, are the vents only located along faults formed by intrusion of sills within the sediment? What happens when lava flows over sediment-does it incorporate any of the sediment during surface flow? What is the distribution of lava fragments around eruptive vents? Can we figure out the rate at which event plumes rise over new hot flows by looking at that distribution? Will we find any new animals or see any of the rare ones we have seen before?

What do you expect to find?
Lots of lava bubble fragments! That some animals will already be on flows less than 10 years old. That the lava pond dives will be full of surprises. That we will see entirely too much mud in Escanaba Trough, but we will be able to map the distribution of lava particles from the NESCA eruption, if we can stay awake through all the mud. Cracks along the base of a ridge near the epicenter of the M7.2 Eureka earthquake.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is the intensity of new discoveries and incorporating what we have just seen into the plans for the rest of the dive or the next dives. Worst part is dealing with bad weather that can prevent our planned programs from happening.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a Senior Scientist at MBARI. I love finding out how the world works and wanted to get paid to do it. I took lots of science and math classes in high school and college and majored in geology, then on to graduate school in oceanography.


Bill Chadwick, Ph.D.    top of page
Associate Professor, Oregon State University
http://newport.pmel.noaa.gov/~chadwick/

What is your role on this cruise?
Co-principal investigator. I will be directing 3 of the 10 dives during this cruise and helping out with the others.

What are your primary goals?
The main goal is to retrieve arrays of seafloor instruments that have been monitoring volcanic activity at two sites: the Cleft segment and Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. We need to recover the instruments in order to download the data they have recorded and to service them. One array has been down for 5 years and the other 2 years.

What do you expect to find?
The instruments measure distance across the array very precisely by timing how long it takes sound chirps to travel from one instrument to another. The instruments span the axis of spreading on the ridge crest where we know the two tectonic plates are moving apart. What we don't know is how much they move and how often.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a cruise is the feeling of finding something new and wonderful and unexpected. That is very exciting. My least favorite is being away from my family.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a geologist. I fell in love with geology in college and majored in it. After Mount St. Helens erupted I got hooked on volcanoes and trying to figure out how they work, and that sent me on to graduate school.


Gillian Clague    top of page
Undergraduate Student, Willamette University

What is your role on this cruise?
I am going to be helping out both the team of biologists and the team of geologists in the lab and in the control room, doing whatever needs to be done when all the samples come to the lab.

What are your primary goals?
To learn more about my interest in marine biology, and how to turn this interest into a career.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to learn more about the ecology at a variety of benthic sites, and to observe how the abundance and diversity of marine organisms depend on the geology at each site. I also expect to be able to recognize a number of species on sight at the end of this cruise.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part is when the ROV is on the bottom. Every second in the control room is a new experience. I also enjoy the conversations between all the people who are involved in a cruise, they keep you alert at all times.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a junior biology major at Willamette University. Marine biology intrigues me because you have to think about what is beyond a page in a textbook.


Brian Cousens, Ph.D.   top of page
Adjunct Professor, Carleton University
www.carleton.ca/~bcousens

What is your role on this cruise?
As a geologist, my role is to make observations about the style of volcanic activity that we see on the sea floor. Are volcanic eruptions quiet or explosive? What shapes to the lava flows have, which tells us about the rate at which the lavas were supplied to the flows? What other clues to we find to tell us how these eruptions occur?

What are your primary goals?
I have never been to this part of the mid-ocean ridge system before. My previous experience has been further north, at Explorer Ridge, where eruption rates are lower and the range of lava types was very limited. My primary goal is to compare the types of lava flows from this cruise with Explorer Ridge lavas, and if differences exist, determine why.

What do you expect to find?
First, I expect to see lots of very young lava flows, a first for me. Second, I am looking forward to seeing lava ponds, lava pillars, and other flow features that I have not seen on the sea floor but have seen on land.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the cruise is working with a great group of scientists and being at sea. My least favorite aspect of the cruise
is the "electronics" odor of the control room, that I still have not gotten used to and makes me slightly nauseous.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am an adjunct professor in the Earth Sciences department at Carleton University in Ottawa. I make a living doing
radiogenic isotope analyses here at Carleton under contracts, and MBARI is one of my most important contractors. I also teach courses at Carleton and supervise both graduate and undergraduate students. I decided to become a university researcher about 20 years ago, after discovering a series of research papers on how Hawaiian volcanoes are formed. This lead me to look at other islands like Hawaii to see if they formed in the same way, and that was the subject of my Ph.D. thesis. I now work on volcanoes in many different parts of the world, including extremely old volcanic rocks in the Northwest Territories of
Canada. It's fun to work in many different places on a variety of project types, since I meet lots of terrific people. The only
downside is that keeping up on new developments in all of the projects takes up a lot of time!


Alicé Davis    top of page
MBARI Research Specialist

What is your role on this cruise?
My primary role on this cruise is to keep track of the samples collected and the descriptive notes taken on the dives.

What are your primary goals?
My primary goal is to have a concise inventory of samples collected so we will be able to get started on the chemical analyses as soon as we return.

What do you expect to find?
I hope we get lots of samples with fresh volcanic glass because it allows us to interpret volcanic processes better than with whole rock samples that are frequently altered.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of the cruise is seeing the fascinating underwater landscape and exotic critters. My least favorite part is leaving my garden, especially at this time of year.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I wanted to be a scientist (actually an astronomer) since I was about 6 years old. My mother told me girls could not be scientist. I got married and had two children before I started College. I fell in love with geology when I saw the red rock deserts of the southwest. I became intrigued with volcanoes in college and for over twenty years I have studied volcanic rocks on the ocean floor all over the Pacific Ocean.


Nick Delich    top of page

What is your role on this cruise?
To support Bill Chadwick and Bob Embley in the deployment and recovery of the Extensometer elevator and research BPR.

What are your primary goals?
Recovery of the extensometers and their data.

What do you expect to find?
Data pertaining to the spreading of the sea floor.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite is working with the ROV while my least favorite is time away from my family.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am an electronics technician at NOAA PMEL. I have always loved electronics and the ocean. I went to school for both and ended up with my dream job.


Bob Embley, Ph.D.    top of page
Marine Geologist/Geophysicist
NOAA Vents Program, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory – Newport, Oregon

What is your role on this cruise?
Marine Geologist

What are your primary goals?
A better understanding of nature of hydrothermal venting in transform fault zone and a better understanding of submarine eruption processes

What do you expect to find?
We hope to locate, map out and sample a site of hydrothermal venting on the Blanco Transform fault zone.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite Part - Investigating a new site for the first time. Least Favorite (on expeditions I'm in charge of) - In port before the cruise

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I'm a marine geologist/geophysicist. When I was in High School the oceans were just beginning to be explored and the prospect of being able to explore 70% of the Earth held a great allure to me. I had been interested in science since early in grade school so the prospect of combining exploration with science was an excellent fit.

Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have excellent teachers and mentors who have encouraged me through grade school, high school, college, graduate school and beyond. If one has with a strong desire to understand the natural world and real enthusiasm for science, someone will always help you move forward.


Kim Fulton-Bennett    top of page
MBARI Communications Associate
http://www.mbari.org/staff/kfb/

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be doing a variety of things, including taking digital notes during ROV dives, helping to process samples recovered by the ROV, taking photographs, and helping write about the expedition for the MBARI web site.

What are your primary goals?
My goals are to help in the research wherever possible, and to explain what we are doing on this cruise to students and other people reading the expedition's web log.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to see lots of relatively recent lava flows and sediments that were created during the eruptions of undersea volcanoes. I will also be interested to see what types of animals live on the different types of rocks and sediments.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My most favorite part is sitting in the ROV control room looking at parts of the sea floor that no human has ever seen before. My least favorite part is the very long hours sometimes required to process samples and get everything prepared for the next day's dive.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
As a communications associate at MBARI, I love the challenge of explaining our scientific and engineering research in a way that is understandable and interesting to the general public. I started out in college studying physics, but switched to environmental studies and geology because I wanted to work outdoors and help improve the environment. As an undergraduate, I got into science writing at UC Santa Cruz, then completed a Master's degree in geology at UCSC as well. Over the years, I have worked as a geologist, county planner, teacher, aquaculture researcher, and technical writer. In all these jobs I have enjoyed and benefited from being able to explain complex subjects in a clear, precise manner. After ten years working as a technical writer for the computer industry, I was very happy to find work at MBARI and return to the marine sciences.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
I'd like to thank my family for all their support and encouragement over the years. I would also like to thank Dave Clague and all the other great people at MBARI for their enthusiasm and for putting up with my interminable questions.


James W. Head III  top of page
Professor, Planetary Geosciences Group,
Geological Sciences Department, Brown University
http://www.planetary.brown.edu/html_pages/head.htm


Amanda Jones    top of page
MBARI Research Assistant

What is your role on this cruise?
My role is to help process the biological samples that are collected using the ROV Tiburon 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. (Or from a geology point of view, I will be removing all the slimy organisms so the geologists have nice clean rocks to work with.) I also hope to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and learn as much as I can from the other scientists onboard.

What do you expect to find?
Since this is primarily a geology cruise, I expect to see a lot of rocks and mud. Hopefully some of the rocks that are brought up will have organisms on them. For the most part, I am going as an opportunistic scavenger.

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.
(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 scientific talent is concentrated around the bay.



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 biological samples we bring up with Tiburon. I also will be working as the chief scientist for a Tiburon dive targeting collection of hydrothermal vent tubeworms.

What are your primary goals?
My primary goal is to sort and preserve biological samples from the Tiburon dives so that they are catalogued and archived. Additionally, my goal is to make sure all of the biological 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.


Laura Karrei   top of page
Undergraduate Student, Carleton University

What are your primary goals?
I hope to gain invaluable experience in sea floor exploration while working with experts in physical volcanology, geochemistry, biology, and ocean sciences. I also hope to be an asset to the science party.

What do you expect to find?
As this is my first cruise, I don't know what to expect! I imagine though, that we will see incredible underwater landscapes with so many creatures I never even imagined existed.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Having never been part of a research cruise before, I don't know. However, I do anticipate that I'll enjoy being present for new discoveries, and at the same time, I fear SEA SICKNESS!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a Geology Honors student at Carleton University (NSERC undergraduate isotope geochemist) and have always had a fascination with science and love for the outdoors and traveling. Geology combines these three interests and always keeps me busy. ROCKS ARE GREAT!


Linda Kuhnz  top of page
MBARI Research Technician, Information and Technology Dissemination, Benthic Ecology and Biology

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

What is your role on this cruise?
The collection, preservation, and identification of benthic (bottom-dwelling) animals, and documenting ROV dives using MBARI's Video Annotation & Reference System (VARS).

What are your primary goals?
I'm going to study the distribution and abundance of deep-sea animals living on or near the seafloor. We'll collect organisms while at sea and I'll analyze video data upon our return.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to see different animal communities living on older lava flows compared with communities found near younger lava flows. Many deep-sea organisms are slow growing and live long lives. It can take a long time for animals to colonize a newly disturbed area, so we also expect to find larger and more abundant animals on older lava flows. There are also differences in the types of animals that live on hard surfaces like rock and lava, vs. those that live on the muddy or sandy seafloor.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I feel very privileged to be involved in such exciting work. The seafloor and the organisms living there are both beautiful and intriguing. Finding an animal that I haven't seen before is always quite a thrill. As much as I love being at sea, I miss being at home when we are on the ship for long periods.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
SCUBA diving was the best thing I ever learned to do. After a career in healthcare I was so in awe of the ocean that I went back to college to learn marine biology, earning an M.S. in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. I am interested in the biology of individual organisms, but also in how various communities of animals live and interact with one another and their environment. I'm a disturbance ecologist, studying changes in marine ecosystems due to both human-caused and natural changes.


mastin.jpg (39809 bytes)Larry Mastin    top of page
Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Projects/Mastin/framework.html

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be working with other cruise scientists to collect and analyze the products of volcanic eruptions along the Juan de Fuca Ridge and near the West Coast of the U.S.

What are your primary goals?
My interest is to understand why some undersea volcanoes produce widespread deposits of volcanic fragments, while others just generate benign lava flows. These differences could be influenced by many factors, including eruption rate, the amount of gas contained in the magma, the type of magma, the water depth, and the geometry of the plumbing system through which the magma arrived at the surface. The trick will be separating out these influences based on what we see in the deposits.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to find a variety of lavas and fragmental eruptive deposits in a variety of locations and physiographic settings. With some luck and the skill of the crew on this ship to help, we hope to get samples of as many types of volcanic deposits as possible, which we will analyze for chemistry, size and shape, gas content, and as many other characteristics as possible.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My most favorite part is seeing what's down there and being able to sample rocks that are beyond reach of most scientists. My least favorite part is seasickness.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a Research Hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory. I was hired by the U.S.G.S. fifteen years ago to study volcanic eruptions that involve mixing of water and magma, and the hazards associated with those eruptions. Many of the hazards associated with volcanic eruptions originate when water mixes with magma, either during eruptions through lakes or shallow seawater, or through the mixing of magma with snow or ice on the flanks of volcanoes. Thanks to MBARI, this will be my first opportunity directly study the products of volcanic eruptions in the deep ocean.


Jenny Paduan   top of page
MBARI Senior Research Technician  
http://www.mbari.org/staff/paje
http://www.mbari.org/volcanism

What is your role on this cruise?
General science support: prepping all the lab supplies before the cruise; preparing the mapping data and real-time GIS beforehand, using it during dives to track where the ROV is on our bathymetric maps, and making dive track maps afterward; annotating the ROV video during dives; making sure the samples don't get mixed up when the sample drawer gets emptied on deck; and then cleaning, photographing, and bagging the samples afterward. When we get home the real work begins! I'll also be coordinating these daily logs we send ashore.

What are your primary goals?
That everything runs smoothly and the weather is benign. My wishes: That we get to all the dive targets we are planning and can collect all the samples we hope to find.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find beautiful, glassy, young volcanic rocks and limu o Pele (the walls of shattered lava bubbles). I'm especially looking forward to exploring the lava pond south of Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. If we're really lucky, we'll find Architeuthis, the elusive giant squid!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite: the excitement of new discoveries, piecing together scientific puzzles, exploration. Least favorite: getting 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! 


Fredrik Pleijel, Ph.D.    top of page
Professor, Göteborg University


What is your role on the cruise?
Collecting, identifying and processing invertebrates (mainly polychaetes or 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?
New, unknown polychaetes but also previously but poorly known ones that can be used for both morphological and molecular studies. It will permit me collect specimens in excellent condition from a very special and rich environment that otherwise is very difficult to access.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Favorite: collecting beautiful and strange invertebrates, plus collaboration with colleagues. 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 university I became fascinated by the fact that worms can be so amazingly diverse and beautiful. Initially also by that it was a nightmare/challenge to identify and put names on them (actually it still often is). So I continued these classes with a Masters and a Ph.D. in taxonomy and phylogeny of polychaetes.


Stephanie Ross, Ph.D.  top of page
Geophysicist (specializing in coastal seismology)
http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/infobank/programs/html/staff2html/staff/Stephanie_Ross.html

What is your role on this cruise?
We'll be revisiting areas of the Gorda Ridge that I've mapped in the past, so I'll be helping figure out where the ROV is (based on nearby features), what the seafloor geology is, and how it has changed.

What are your primary goals?
I've been studying offshore faults and earthquakes, so I was excited when the Gorda plate produced a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in June. The depth of the event is not well known, but it is necessary information for creating more accurate tsunami models. I'd like to find evidence of the earthquake's effect on the seafloor that give an indication of the earthquake's depth.

What do you expect to find?
Possibly surface rupture from the earthquake. It may also have affected how vigorous the hydrothermal vents are, so we'll be looking for changes in their activity level.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I love being part of a team that is completely and intensely focused on the job at hand -- no commuting or other mundane issues to detract from working on the common goal. It's an amazing bonus that the goal is figuring out how the earth works and includes being on a ship. I also love how vivid and infinite the night sky appears without urban light pollution. My least favorite part is being away from my family.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did>you become one?
I'm a marine geophysicist. I got hooked on oceanography while watching Jacques Cousteau specials when I was growing up. I took as much science and math as they offered in high school and then went to the University of Miami to pursue marine geology and Stanford University to specialize in geophysics. I've been at the USGS since 1983 and have spent over a year, cumulatively, on research ships. I've mapped seafloor spreading ridges and now work on improving earthquake relocation methods. Every cruise offers new challenges, puzzles, and discoveries.


Lionel Wilson   top of page
Professor, Lancaster University

http://www.es.lancs.ac.uk/vgrg/People/LW.html

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a member of the science team.

What are your primary goals?
To learn more about the details of underwater eruptions. I hope that we can interpret a lot of the information we get in real time so that we can think of new things to test while we are still at sea and are able to follow them up.

What do you expect to find?
A range of different rock porosities that gives us information about what controls the release of gas from magma in underwater eruptions.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I don't know - this is the first time I have been on one! I am hoping we avoid bad weather, but living in the north of England I certainly know what it is like to be rained on a lot.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Lancaster University, UK, where I lead the Planetary Science Research Group. I work mainly on volcanic activity (not just on Earth but on all of the planets where it has happened or is still happening). I got interested in this area because I realized that studying what happens on the surfaces of the other planets is a great help in understanding what happens on Earth.


Robert (a.k.a. Z) Zierenberg  top of page
Professor of Geology, University of California-Davis

http://www.geology.ucdavis.edu/

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be assisting the Chief Geologist in conducting the dives, describing the sea floor geology, collecting samples, and describing and archiving the samples we collect. An individual dive can last for more than 8 hours, and even a dedicated geologist and chief scientist like Dave Clague needs to take a break from the control room now and then.

What are your primary goals?
I hope we are able to collect some samples of metal-rich massive sulfide deposits that have formed near a partially sediment buried volcano in the Escanaba Trough. We will be diving near a site where there is an old, inactive, and weathered massive sulfide deposit. I would like to know how old this deposit is and how it relates to a nearby massive sulfide deposit that is still venting hot (220° C)water. These two deposits occur on opposite sides of a large sediment hill that was pushed up when basalt magma intruded into sediment. The area near the old sulfide deposit is also of interest to the biologists because there is a community of chemosynthetic clams that live in the sediment. These clams are associated with an area of hydrothermally derived hydrocarbons. Bacteria in the sediments live off of the energy in the hydrocarbons (crude oil) and turn dissolved sulfate to sulfide in the process. A specialized type of microbe lives symbiotically in the clams and is able to turn the sulfide (which is highly toxic to most animals) into energy allowing the clams to live off of the chemical energy (hence the term chemosynthetic) rather than deriving its energy from plants or other organic matter that depends on sunlight for energy (i.e. photosynthetic). I would like to collect some samples of the hydrocarbon-rich sediment to better understand how these deposits form.

What do you expect to find?
Since we have had some dives at this site before, we have a general idea what the seafloor will look like, but every dive brings new surprises, so who knows?

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite parts of a research cruise are that each dive brings new discoveries and you get to see things that you (and often no one else!) has ever seen before. This is even more fun because you are out at sea with a bunch of other scientist and they are always teaching you new things out the deep sea. My least favorite thing is packing to go to sea and trying to remember to bring everything you could possibly need with you. There is no running to the corner store if you run out of duct tape, and everyone knows you can't do science without duct tape.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I am a geochemist. I never really set out to be a geochemist when I grew up, I just got interested in knowing how the planet works and in understanding the landscape around me, especially when I would go hiking in places like the high Sierra or Death Valley where the landscape is a direct reflection of the geologic processes that shape our earth. I started taking classes to understand what I saw around me, and I am still learning even at my advanced age, so I still consider myself more of student of geology than a professor.

Any other comments/thoughts for those reading about you?
Many young folks think that science is about what we know. It is really about what we have left to learn. There have been so many new discoveries and advances in our understanding of science in my life time. There will be so many more in the life time of the next generation to follow. If you don't really want to grow up and get a job, you should become a scientist. You still have to work hard, but you get learn so much along the way and have a lot of fun doing it. My advise to young folks is don't follow a preset career path, follow your interest choose the pathway for you. You may not know where your heading or where you will end up, but your a lot more likely to enjoy the journey.