The Arctic Exploration science team.

The Arctic Exploration science team. Click image for larger view.

Explorer Biographies

(arranged alphabetically by team)

Deep-Sea Benthos
Bodil Bluhm
Casey Debenham
Katrin Iken
Ian McDonald

Media and Technology
Emory Kristof
Jennifer Steinberg

Kathy Crane
Jeremy Potter

Novel Microorganisms
David Allen
Shelly Carpenter
Jody Deming
Llyd Wells

Pelagic Fauna
Russ Hopcroft
Jennifer Purcell
Kevin A. Raskoff
Michael Vecchione
Marsh Youngbluth

Physical, Nutrients, and Primary Productivity
Terry Whitledge

Sea Ice Communities
Bodil Bluhm
Rolf Gradinger
F. Gerald Plumley
Qing Zhang

Deep-Sea Benthos

Bodil BluhmBodil A. Bluhm, PhD
Research Assistant Professor (Marine Biology),
Institute of Marine Science, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska

Bodil Bluhm, a native of northern Germany, is a marine ecologist with a research focus on invertebrates from high latitudes. She received her M.Sc. from the Institute of Polar Ecology at Kiel University in Germany, and earned her PhD from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Bremerhaven / University of Bremen, Germany. In 2001, Dr. Bluhm came to Alaska. Her research has focused on growth and age of bottom living invertebrates such as crustaceans and sea urchins. Also, she is interested in coupling processes between sea floor, water column and sea ice, as well as in learning about the food webs within and between these realms. Dr. Bluhm has participated in several Arctic and Antarctic expeditions and much enjoys cold and icy climates. Her role in the Arctic Ocean Exploration project will be twofold. Together with her colleagues, she will be exploring the Arctic benthic deep-sea communities regarding their diversity and survival strategies in this food-limited environment, using stable isotope ratios, stomach content analysis and ROV observations. Also, she will be participating in the sea ice work. When she is not doing research, Bodil enjoys traveling, hiking, canoeing, scuba diving, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing. Visit her Web site.

Casey DebenhamCasey Debenham
Graduate Student
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Casey Debenham was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. He obtained a B.S. in Marine Biology from Southampton College, Long Island University in New York. He now finds himself back in wonderful Alaska where he is currently a gradate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His project for a master degree in Marine Biology involves working with stable isotopes in the Boulder Patch, which is an isolated kelp community in the Beaufort Sea. It is a study that will consists of SCUBA diving in the Arctic Ocean to collect algae and invertebrates to construct a marine food web of the area. During the Ocean Exploration cruise, Mr. Debenham will be joining the benthic team to assist with collecting samples for identification and isotopic analysis. He is very excited to be part of this exploratory venture and also hopes for a chance to see polar bears in the wild.

Katrin IkenKatrin Iken, PhD
Assistant Professor Marine Biology
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Katrin Iken was born and raised in Germany and came to the US three years ago for a postdoctoral position. She has recently joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks in an Assistant Professor position. Dr. Iken enjoys Alaska with its abundant nature and wildlife. She is excited to be able to work in the Arctic. So far, she has participated in about 10 research cruises to the Antarctic, the Arctic and the Deep-Sea. Her background is in benthic ecology, especially trophic interactions and food web studies. Dr. Iken will not be on board for this cruise, but she is part of the benthic team and will be in charge for the analysis of stable isotopes once the samples are back home. Visit her Web site.

Ian MacDonaldIan R. MacDonald, PhD
Texas A&M University
Geochemical and Environmental Research Group

Ian MacDonald will be part of the benthos team during the cruise. He received a PhD in biological oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1990. Mr. MacDonald will use GIS and image-processing tools to assemble pictures, videotapes, notes, and available dive data into detailed maps of the seafloor sampling areas. The team will lower a large coring device (called a box core) to the bottom to collect sediments and bottom fauna. They will rig the box core so that it releases a pinger and float, which they hope will enable the ROV to locate the exact locations of the core samples. Mr. MacDonald will also collect animals living at the bottom, in mid-water and under the ice to assay for persistent organic pollutants. He recently accepted a position as professor of environmental sciences at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi and will be relocating there when he returns from this cruise.

Media and Technology

Emory Kristof
Emory Kristo
National Geographic Society

Emory Kristof has been a National Geographic photographer since 1963. Kristof graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a BS in journalism in 1964. He is a specialist in scientific, high-tech and underwater subjects, including deep-ocean work beyond normal diver depths.

Throughout his career, Mr. Kristof has been a pioneer in the use of robot cameras and remotely operated vehicles. He created the preliminary designs of the electronic camera system for the Argo vehicle, which was used to find the Titanic. He has led photographic surveys of the C.S.S. Alabama off the coast of France in 1992 and the 16th century wreck San Diego in the Philippines in 1993. In 1995, he led an expedition to recover the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald and produced the first deep-water images with High Definition TV. In August 1998, Kristof's pictures of the Titanic were presented in the National Geographic magazine article "Tragedy in Three Dimension." The pictures appeared in unprecedented detail because of advances in three-dimensional computer video-editing. Mr. Kristof has been honored with many professional awards. In 1998, he was presented with the 1998 J. Winton Lemen Fellowship Award by the National Press Photographer's Association "for being one of our profession's most imaginative innovators with particular attention to pictures from beneath the ocean brought to the readers of National Geographic magazine."

Jennifer SteinbergJennifer Steinberg
National Geographic Society

Jennifer Steinberg, a Chicago native, studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at York University in England, receiving her BA in 1991. She then spent 5 years writing for The Journal of NIH Research, two publications of the Discovery Channel, and several environmental groups before attending the University of Maryland for graduate work in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology. Master's degree in hand, she worked for two years as a researcher for National Geographic Television before switching back to print media. She is now a staff writer at National Geographic Magazine with a focus on natural history and the environment.


Kathy CraneKathy Crane, PhD
Mission Coordinator

Kathy Crane is NOAA Mission Coordinator for the Arctic Expedition. In addition to her position as Program Manager in the Arctic Research Group of NOAA, she is also employed as a Professor of Oceanography at Hunter College, the City University of New York, and maintains affiliations with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She received her PhD at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1977, where she was an integral part in the discovery of the Galapagos Hydrothermal Vents. After her PhD work, Ms. Crane moved to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and worked with Dr. Robert Ballard to study mid-ocean ridges. Since then, she has been employed at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Hunter College, of the City University of New York, the Naval Research Laboratory and NOAA. She has been a visiting scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Hawaii, the University of Oslo, Norway, the University of Paris, France and at the Environmental Defense Fund where she developed the Arctic At Risk Program.

Ms. Crane rarely enjoys investigating the same piece of real estate more than once; hence her rapid move from Tropical Geophysics to the High Arctic Latitudes. In the Arctic she perfected an art of using ships and tools of many nations. To this end she has participated in 15 multinational expeditions including work with Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Canada. She has participated in 36 expeditions at sea, and has been the chief scientist of 16. Ms. Crane is now working to develop an Arctic Exploration program at NOAA.

Jeremy PotterJeremy Potter

Jeremy Potter grew up in wild wonderful West Virginia and graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina. Immediately after college, he became nervous about beginning law school and ran off to Alaska to work as an observer in the Bering Sea crab fishery, and later as an instructor at the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium. In 1997, he again ran from graduate school to spend one year teaching English in rural Japan. Three years later, he returned to the US to pursue his interests in international environmental politics, facilitation, and negotiation. Mr. Potter is a master’s student at the Duke University School of the Environment. His current research in international fisheries policy focuses on the Japanese pelagic longline industry. His fascination with the deep sea led him to NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration (OE) where he is a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Sea Grant Fellow. In the office, he spends most of his time integrating the operations and science programs. At sea, Mr. Potter will be coordinating website contributions and assisting with database management for the first leg of Arctic Expedition 2002 as well as the Arctic Expedition.

David AllenDavid M. Allen
Graduate Student
School of Oceanography, University of Washington

David came to the University of Washington after completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, indulging his love of scuba diving, and experimenting with the marine sciences as a future career option. He was recently awarded a Masters degree in Oceanography, having completed a research project on bacterial motility and chemotaxis in the cold. Bacteria have long been known to move up a gradient of useful nutrients to acquire food (chemotaxis), but no one had explored their ability to do so at very cold temperatures, even though most of the Earth's biosphere is a cold ocean at 5 degrees Celsius or lower. David produced evidence that bacteria not only move remarkably quickly at temperatures near the freezing point of seawater, but do so in response to a wide range of organic compounds. In the future, David would like to apply his familiarity with the scientific enterprise, from laboratory research to international sea-going expeditions, to issues in the arena of marine policy.

Shelly CarpenterShelly D. Carpenter
Staff Oceanographer
School of Oceanography, University of Washington

Shelly came to the University of Washington in 1990 with a Masters degree in Botany/Molecular Biology from Arizona State University and a desire to broaden her experiences beyond the study of photosynthetic bacteria in the laboratory. She has since participated regularly in many sea-going expeditions, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, and become an expert in the study of marine microbiology, especially bacteria inhabiting sediments under extreme conditions. She manages the laboratory of Jody Deming, helps numerous undergraduate and graduate students from many different laboratories with their research projects,and has become an indispensible staff member in the School of Oceanography. Her "green thumb" with bacteria from various extreme environments extends to a serious love of gardening and the beautiful outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Visit her Web site.

Jody Demming
Jody W. Deming
School of Oceanography, University of Washington

After working for NASA in the 1970s to develop microbial detection systems for unusual habitats, Jody Deming decided to pursue graduate research on the extreme environment of Earth's deep ocean, studying marine microbiology at the University of Maryland. She specialized in pressure-adapted bacteria from the greatest depths of the cold ocean, receiving her doctorate in 1981. Her postdoctoral time at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography introduced her to hydrothermal vent research and microbial life in fluids at very high temperatures kept liquid by deep-ocean pressures. Subsequent research at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington, where she has been since 1988, cemented her commitment to the study of "extremophiles." Most recently, she has become interested in the limits of microbial life in Arctic sea ice during the coldest of winter months and implications for life elsewhere. She is a dedicated teacher and trainer of undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of Oceanography and Astrobiology, publishes regularly, serves on numerous national and international committees, and loves to work at sea whenever possible. Visit her Web site.

Llyd WellsLlyd E. Wells
Graduate Student
School of Oceanography, University of Washington

Llyd came to the University of Washington after completing an undergraduate degree at the Johns Hopkins University. His experiences there culminated in a profound fascination with the process of evolution, which led him to pursue a higher degree program in the UW School of Oceanography, where he could explore the evolution of microbial life in extreme environments. He completed a Masters degree in Oceanography in 2001 on a project that began with an icebreaking expedition in the famed, and still relatively unexplored, Northwest Passage of the Canadian Archipelago. There, he discovered a concentration of potentially novel organisms known as Archaea associated with particle-rich water masses at depth, as well as a notable diversity of viruses that appear to exert some control over the diversity of microorganisms in the region. Llyd is now pursuing a PhD in Oceanography and participating in UW's new program in Astrobiology, building upon his earlier research and continuing fascination with evolution, now focused on microbial life in the cold.

Pelagic Fauna

Russ HopcroftRussell R. Hopcroft, PhD
Assistant Professor
Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Dr. Russ Hopcroft is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska's Institute of Marine Science in Fairbanks. He grew up fascinated by aquatic life (and Jacques Cousteau specials), pursuing the sciences during his education. Dr. Hopcroft received his Masters degree in 1988, and his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The focus of his graduate research was on marine plankton ecology in the tropical waters surrounding Jamaica, West Indies. From 1997 to 1999, Dr, Hopcroft was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). At MBARI he was heavily involved in the use of ROVs as well as traditional oceanographic surveys to study the oceans.

Dr. Hopcroft pursues a broad array of research interests, concentrating on the "lower" planktonic trophic levels that ultimately shape the structure of all aquatic communities. His research focuses on the composition, production and energy flow of pelagic ecosystems, and better methods to explore these topics. Although much of his research focuses on copepod and euphausiid crustaceans, he also specializes on the taxonomy, biology and ecology of the larvacean pelagic tunicates. Visit his Web site.

Jennifer PurcellJennifer E. Purcell, PhD
Resident Scientist
Shannon Point Marine Center, Western Washington University

Dr. Jenny Purcell is currently a resident scientist at the Shannon Point Marine Center of Western Washington University. She received her PhD in 1981 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Purcell research centers on the trophic interactions, population dynamics, and behavior of gelatinous zooplankton, especially cnidarians and ctenophores. She explores the effects of jellyfish on fish populations, plus the function of the specialized stinging cells (nematocysts) and chemoreception within these phyla. Visit her Web site.

kevin raskoffKevin A. Raskoff, PhD
Research Fellow
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

Dr. Raskoff is a research fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California. He received his PhD in 2001 from the University of California, Los Angeles, studying the ecology of the mesopelagic cnidarians in Monterey Bay. Dr. Raskoff is interested in all aspects of jellyfish biology and ecology. He is one of the current taxonomic experts on hydromedusae, particularly those species inhabiting deeper waters. He has extensive experience in using ROVs to study and collect these organisms. Visit his Web site.

michael vecchioneMichael Vecchione, PhD
Cephalopod Biologist
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Systematics Laboratory (NSL)

Michael Vecchione went to sea as a cabin boy on a three-masted schooner in Maine at the age of 16. He completed undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Miami in 1972, and then spent four and a half years as a U.S. Army officer. He has worked on cephalopods since his graduate studies on planktonic molluscs during 1976-79 at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the School of Marine Science for the College of William and Mary. After receiving his PhD there, he worked briefly for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before accepting a faculty position at McNeese State University where he studied cephalopods, zooplankton, and ichthyoplankton in addition to teaching from 1981-86. In 1986 he moved to his present position as Cephalopod Biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service National Systematics Laboratory (NSL), located at the National Museum of Natural History where he is a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. He has been Director of the NSL since 1997. From 2000-2002, he also served as the founding Director of a Cooperative Marine Education and Research program between NMFS, Hampton Univ., and VIMS, where he is an adjunct faculty member. Read more about Cephalopods.

marsh youngbluthMarsh J. Youngbluth, PhD
Senior Scientist
Division of Marine Science, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Marsh Youngbluth received his Master's degree in Zoology in 1966 from the University of Hawaii, and his PhD in Biology in 1972 from Stanford University. He is a Senior Scientist with the Division of Marine Science at Harbor Branch Oceanographic institution. He has served as a visiting scientist at the University of Bergen, Norway, the Japanese Center for Promotion of Science, and National Center for Scientific Research in France. Dr. Youngbluth has also served as NSF Biological Oceanography Program Director, and as Program manager for the NOAA National Undersea Research Program.

Dr. Youngbluth's research interests in the field of biological oceanography center around the ecology and biodiversity of mesopelagic particle transport and flux. Active research interests include functional ecology of the various gelatinous zooplankton comprising Phylum Cnidaria, Phylum Ctenophora, and selected pelagic tunicates.

Much of Dr. Youngbluth's work employs the Harbor Branch Johnson Sea-Link research submersibles. A firm believer in employing "the right tools for the job," Dr. Youngbluth continues to utilize innovative technologies in the ongoing exploration of the mid-ocean realm. Read more about water column ecology.

Physical, Nutrients, and Primary Productivity

terry whitledgeTerry Whitledge, PhD
Chemical and Biological Oceanographer
University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Terry Whitledge is a chemical/biological oceanographer who has been studying the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean for more than 25 years with respect to nutrient dynamics and responses by the plankton communities. The requirement of light and inorganic nutrients by phytoplankton in order to grow often controls the food available to the higher tropic levels such as zooplankton and fishes. The complex interactions of winds, changing temperatures, ice cover, and freshwater input from the land create a physical environment that is nearly always changing and causes the growth of plankton to respond to a wide range of environmental conditions. The object of the Arctic Exploration studies is to document some of the nutrient and light effects on phytoplankton growth under the ice and in open water where it occurs. Analysis of the salinity and temperature along with nutrient and light conditions will allow for future predictions of the effects of global climate change in the Arctic as temperatures increase and ice cover diminishes.

Sea Ice Communities

Bodil A. Bluhm, PhD
see above

Rolf GradingerRolf Gradinger, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Alaska's School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences

Dr. Rolf Gradinger has been working on the marine biology of ice covered waters since his first ship expedition to the area betweenGreenland and Spitsbergen in 1984. Since then, he has participated in 14 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica, mostly working on the food web dynamics of ice associated communities. Dr. Gradinger completed his PhD thesis in 1990 at Kiel University (Germany), where he was also head of the sea ice working group at the Institute for Polar Ecology until 2000. Since January 2001, Dr. Gradinger has been an assistant professor at the Institute of Marine Science in Fairbanks, studying the sea ice biota in coastal and shelf areas of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. He enjoys Alaska, with its unique nature and the easy access to fascinating marine environments. His contribution to Arctic Exploration will focus on life at the interfaces of the pack ice floes in the Arctic Ocean. They will search for marine animals living related to sea ice on its surface, in its interior and on the bottom of the floes. For that purpose, they will collect material with Ice corers. Divers will support them by providing video observations and animal collections from these regions. Visit his Web site.

Gerald PlumleyF. Gerald Plumley, PhD
University of Alaska School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences
University of Alaska School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics

Dr. Plumley works on the molecular biology of marine photosynthetic algae and bacteria, with a recent interest in aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs (AAPs). The AAPs were discovered approximately 20 years ago, but only within the last two years have they been found in open ocean environments, where they potentially represent 5-10% of the total photosynthetic electron transport in surface waters. Arctic sea ice would be an excellent habitat for a number of different types of AAPs as well as for the more widely known anaerobic anoxygenic phototrophs. His contribution to Arctic Exploration will focus on these ancient phototrophs in the sea ice and waters immediately below the sea ice.

Qing ZhangQing Zhang
Research Professor
Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Hangzhou, China

Mr. Zhang has been working on polar marine biology and ecology since he started at the Second Institute of Oceanography of SOA in the end of 1992. He participated in his first ship expedition to the polar area into the Greenland Sea in autumn of 1995. Part of Mr. Zhang's scientific research was conducted as guest scientist of the Institute for Polar Ecology at the University of Kiel (Germany) from 1995 to 1997. He participated in three expeditions to the Arctic, mostly working on the food web dynamics of ice associated communities.

Since October 2001, Mr. Zhang is a research professor at the Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration of China, located in Hangzhou. His work focuses on the study of the sea ice biota in coastal and shelf areas of the polar seas and the biology and ecology of red tide organisms in the coastal areas of Chinese seas. The Arctic Exploration expedition offers Mr. Zhang the opportunity to study the primary producers in the ice and the uppermost water column in great detail.

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