Explorers' Biographies

Shawn M. Arellano
Sandra Brooke
Robert S. Carney
Erik E. Cordes
Peter Deines
Chuck Fisher
Breea W. Govenar
Stephane Hourdez
Johanna Järnegren Rex Roettger
Linda Sedlacek
Patricia (Patty) Sobecky
Craig Tobias
Craig M. Young

shawn arellanoShawn M. Arellano

Graduate Student

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

University of Oregon

Shawn M. Arellano received a B.S. in organismal biology and cell biology from the University of Kansas (KU) in 2000. Her interest in marine science began at KU where she conducted an undergraduate research project on the taxonomy of a deep-sea anemone. Also as an undergraduate, Ms. Arellano participated in marine science research programs at the Shannon Point Marine Center, where she became interested in larval biology and ecology, and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which sparked her interest in the deep sea. She has been working with Dr. Craig Young for a year, both as his research assistant at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and now as his Ph.D. student at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Her primary interest on this cruise is to begin her graduate research exploring aspects of recruitment, such as settlement, dispersal, juvenile mortality, and larval biology of the Brine Pool mussel, Bathymodiolus childressi. In addition to her own research, Ms. Arellano will assist Dr. Young in his research on the seasonal reproduction of B. childressi.

shawn arellanoSandra Brooke


Sandra Brooke graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Essex in England. After obtaining a masters degree in pest and disease control, she went to Grand Cayman to work for the government in the Mosquito Control Unit. Learning scuba diving and working in Honduras for two years on a malaria program prompted a career change. She earned an M.A from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, and a Ph.D. from Southampton Oceanography Center in England. Her dissertation research, which was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Craig Young of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, focused on the reproductive ecology and larval biology of the Ivory Tree Coral (Oculina varicosa). Dr. Brooke now is a post-doctoral fellow at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and would like to continue working on deep water coral ecosystems. She also has had the opportunity to work on research projects that include culturing larvae of the giant tubeworm (Riftia pachyptila), which lives at the hydrothermal vents, studying reproductive seasonality of Echinoderms from the Bahamian bathyal slopes, and studying reproduction in various animals from the cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

Robert S. Carney


Louisiana State University

robert carneyDr. Robert S. Carney has been fascinated by deep-sea ecology since he first participated in deep sampling in 1967 as an undergraduate at Duke University. During his graduate education he sampled in the deep Gulf of Mexico as a student at Texas A&M University, and in the deep northeastern Pacific as a student at Oregon State. He also spent two years as a Smithsonian Fellow, examining a fraction of the thousands of specimens archived at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. After three years directing the Biological Oceanography Program of the National Science Foundation, he returned to teaching and research. At Moss Landing Marine Lab on the Pacific, he began submersible-based investigation of animal distribution. During this period, chemosynthetic communities were discovered in the deep Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Carney came to Louisiana State University in 1986, and has been conducting research on deep Gulf of Mexico ecology ever since. During the expedition he will concentrate on two areas of concern. First, to what extent do normal deep-sea fauna feed upon the abundant seep animals? This is in collaboration with Drs. Steven Macko of the University of Virginia and Stephen MacAvoy of American University. Second, he will try to determine dispersion of tubeworm larvae through use of larvae attracting devices. Dr. Carney is active in a growing group of deep-sea scientists concerned about pollution and environmental impact in that poorly understood environment.

erik cordesErik E. Cordes

Ph.D. candidate

Pennsylvania State University

Erik Cordes completed his undergraduate studies in Marine Science at Southampton College in Long Island, New York. He then went on to receive his M.S. degree from Moss Landing Marine Labs in California, studying the age and growth of deep-sea soft corals and gorgonians. His current research focuses on the ecology of the seep tubeworms Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi and the animals that are associated with them. He is investigating the establishment of tubeworm aggregations and their sulfide uptake rates using computer simulations. He is also examining biogeography and succession processes in the communities that use tubeworms as habitat. On this cruise, Mr. Cordes is collecting whole tubeworm aggregations to obtain information on their recruitment and mortality rates, and to determine if there is a different community associated with tubeworm aggregations in areas that have not been explored.

peter deinesPeter Deines

Post-Masters Researcher

Pennsylvania State University

Peter received a Master of Science degree in zoology and marine and freshwater biology from the University of Kiel, Germany. His research focused on the chemical defense ecology of microorganisms and the trophic interactions. Currently, he is training for studies of the molecular /physiological ecology of seep fauna in the Fisher lab. He hopes to collect tubeworms on this cruise for karyotyping (the characterization of the chromosomal complement of an individual or a species, including number, form, and size of the chromosomes).

chuck fisherChuck Fisher


Pennsylvania State University

Charles (Chuck) Fisher is a professor of biology in the Eberly College of Science at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. He then moved to the University of California in Santa Barbara where he received his Ph.D., working on algal-invertebrate symbioses in corals and giant clams. He began working at hydrothermal vents during his first cruise with the submersible Alvin in 1982 and began at the cold seeps of the Gulf of Mexico in 1987. He has been on 46 oceanographic expeditions over the past 20 years and was chief scientist for 19 of those expeditions. He has made 88 dives with six different research submarines, and logged over 54 days at sea working with remotely operated vehicles. Chuck’s research group uses a wide variety of techniques and approaches to discover new animals, investigate the metabolic and life history adaptations of vent and seep animals, and study the ecology of the often strange communities found in these deep sea habitats.

breea govenarBreea W. Govenar

Ph.D. candidate

Pennsylvania State University

Breea W. Govenar received a B.S. in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology at Tulane University. During her undergraduate education, she also took classes in ecology and marine biology at the University of Lyon (France) and Harvard University. She is currently in her third year of a Ph.D. program in the biology department at the Pennsylvania State University, where she is researching the ecology of tubeworm communities at the hydrothermal vents of the East Pacific Rise. On this expedition, Ms. Govenar is assisting graduate student Erik Cordes with the collection of tubeworm aggregations (Lamellibrachia cf. luymesi and Sepiophila jonsei) and the identification of species from the Gulf of Mexico.

stephane hourdezStephane Hourdez

Postdoctoral scholar

Pennsylvania State University

Stephane Hourdez received his Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris, France). He then joined Dr. Fisher's group at Penn State where he is studying the evolution of respiratory adaptations in a family of polychaetes, the Polynoidae (scale-worms) found in shallow water but also at deep-sea hydrothermal vent and cold-seep communities. During this cruise, he will be measuring respiratory rates of some key-species in the cold-seep communities and study some enzymes of their metabolism.

Johanna JärnegrenJohanna Järnegren

Ph.D. student

Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Johanna Jarnegren received a Master of Science degree in marine biology at Göteborg University in Sweden. For her thesis, she worked with feeding biology and morphology of the clam Giant Fileshell (Acesta excavata). Her experiences prompted her to continue studying the beautiful bivalve. After performing several shorter research projects with the Giant Fileshell and working as a research associate in the North Atlantic and Arctic, she began her Ph.D. studies this past fall. Her Ph.D. project will compare the Giant Fileshell of the Northeast Atlantic with its close relative Acesta bullisi, which lives in the tubeworms in the Gulf of Mexico. She intends to study the animals' reproduction, feeding, anatomy and respiration. On this expedition, Ms. Jarnegren will collect Acesta bullisi for her comparison studies. She also will work to develop methods and equipment for sampling the deep sea benthos with a remotely operated vehicle.

rex roettgerRex Roettger

Teacher, DoDEA

Puerto Rico

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rex Roettger continues to express his passion for the ocean in the classroom. The desire to grasp an understanding of marine science and to educate the public about it has cemented his choice in a career. Mr. Roettger has a BS in Education with an emphasis in Biological Science from Ohio University and is now finishing a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Humboldt State University. With more than 15 years of teaching experience, he is presently teaching science at the middle and high school levels. Mr. Roettger enjoys introducing his students to the outdoor classroom and giving them hands-on opportunities to explore it. As a teacher, he is privileged to have the Caribbean Sea at his classroom doorstep. This setting allows him to expose his students to various opportunities, such as collecting data on nesting leatherback sea turtles, studying mangrove communities, and creating bathymetric maps of the Puerto Rican Trench.

Linda SedlacekLinda Sedlacek

Linda Sedlacek received her B.S. in biological sciences from Florida State University. During her undergraduate career, she focused on ecology and evolution and wrote a voluntary undergraduate thesis on the community structure of organisms living in the pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. She is currently finishing her Master’s degree in oceanography on a study of small crustaceans called harpacticoid copepods, a species that leaves the sediment and enters the water column at night, and returns to the sediment around dawn. She is also preparing for her Ph.D. work on the effect of carbon dioxide on harpacticoid copepods. On this expedition, Ms. Sedlacek will be collecting sediment samples to identify the harpacticoid copepods that live in and around cold seeps and will identify their food source.

Patricia (Patty) Sobecky

Assistant Professor

Georgia Institute of Technology

Patty SobeckyPatricia (Patty) Sobecky is an assistant professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Georgia in 1993. She was a post-doctoral fellow at University of California, San Diego, in the lab of Dr. Donald Helinski from 1993-1997. There, she began her work on marine plasmids and the role of lateral gene transfer in marine microbial communities. She has continued this area of research since Georgia Tech in 1997. In collaboration with Drs. Joseph Montoya (Georgia Tech), Ian Macdonald (Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi) and Samantha Joye (University of Georgia), she initiated studies in the Gulf of Mexico during a first cruise (2001) and a subsequent cruise (Leg 2, 2002) to investigate the microorganisms occurring in gas hydrate, brine and other cold seep niches in the Gulf of Mexico. The researchers used many different techniques to determine the types and activities of microorganisms in the deep sea cold seep environments found in the Gulf of Mexico.

Craig TobiasCraig Tobias


Craig Tobias is a biogeochemist currently working with the US Geological Survey. His research interests primarily include understanding the flow of nitrogen through marine (salt water) and aquatic (fresh water) ecosystems. Most marine photosynthetic communities (phytoplankton-based ecosystems) are limited by the availability of nitrogen in the oceans. Consequently, nitrogen is conserved within marine ecosystems and recycled between organisms as much as possible. But the flow of nitrogen into and through chemosynthetically-based ecosystems is not as well understood. During the expedition, Mr. Tobias hopes to collect multiple components of the Brine Pool ecosystem and use naturally existing variations in a stable isotope of nitrogen to “trace” its flow through the Brine Pool community. In addition he hopes that isotopic tracers of the nitrogen, as well as carbon, will provide additional information on the relative importance of chemosynthetic energy sources vs. photosynthetic energy sources that rain down from the photic (sunlight-rich) shallow water located above the Brine Pool.

craig youngCraig M. Young


University of Oregon

Craig M. Young is a professor of Biology at the University of Oregon and the director of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. He completed B.S. and M.S. degrees at Brigham Young University and received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 1982. Much of his college work was completed at marine laboratories, particularly Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in California and Friday Harbor Laboratories, Washington. Although most of his early work involved scuba diving on underwater rocky reefs in cold water, Dr. Young made his first submersible dives in a canadian fjord as a student in 1979. He has now visited the sea floor in 8 different submersibles on more than 70 scientific cruises. He spends much of his time working at laboratories and universities in Europe and holds academic appointments at two universities in England. Dr. Young has published more than 140 scientific papers and has edited many books, including Atlas of Marine Invertebrate Larvae, which appeared early this year. He also serves as one of the editors of a book series called Advances in Marine Biology. Dr. Young and his students have studied many aspects of invertebrate biology using animals from most of the invertebrate phyla, but his lab specializes in the reproduction and larval biology of deep-sea animals, particularly sea squirts, echinoderms and various kinds of worms.


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