South Atlantic Bight Explorers

Leg 1—Deep Water Spawning Habitat

George R. Sedberry, Ph.D.
R. Martin Ball, Ph.D.
Charles A. Barans, Ph.D.
Marion Beal
Cynthia Cooksey
Stacie Crowe
Joshua D. Dubick
Lisa Hollen
Pamela Cox Jutte, Ph.D.
Joshua K. Loefer
John C. McGovern, Ph.D.
Scott Meister
Germán Y. Ojeda, Ph.D.
Paul Orlando
Jeremy Potter
Robin D. Salonich
Leslie R. Sautter, Ph.D.
LaVern Taylor
David M. Wyanski

Leg 2—Outer Shelf and Slope

Steve W. Ross, Ph.D.
Fritz Rohde
Kenneth J. Sulak, Ph.D.
Liz Baird
John McDonough
Martha S. Nizinski, Ph.D.

Leg 3—Visual Ecology, Bioluminescence and New Pharmacological Resources

Shirley A. Pomponi, Ph.D.
John K. Reed
Tamara Frank, Ph.D.
Edith A. Widder, Ph.D.
Brian Cousin
Erika Heine
Peter Herring, Ph.D.
Nicolos Joannin
Sönke Johnsen, Ph.D.
Paula Keener-Chavis
Mikhail Matz, Ph.D.
Nicole McMullen
Tara Pitts
Arte Roman
Eric Warrant, Ph.D.
Robin Willoughby, Ph.D.
Amy E. Wright, Ph.D.

Leg 1—Deep Water Spawning Habitats

George R. SedberryGeorge R. Sedberry, Ph.D.
Senior Marine Scientist
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Principal Investigator, Deep Water Spawning Habitats Project

George Sedberry spent his formative years on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, where he completed a B.S. degree in Biology at Old Dominion University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. He is Senior Marine Scientist at the Marine Resources Research Institute of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in Charleston, where he has conducted research since 1980. His interests and experience are in the biology, conservation and management of reef fishes and highly migratory oceanic fishes, as well as deep-sea biology and coral-reef ecology. Most of his research is concentrated on hard bottom reefs of subtropical and temperate waters off the southeastern U.S., but he has conducted research on Marine Protected Areas in Belize and on population biology of fishes from the North and South Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the western South Pacific. He serves on the Marine Protected Areas Advisory Panel and the Snapper/Grouper Assessment Panel of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and is Vice Chair of the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the College of Charleston, where he advises graduate students and teaches marine fisheries science. He has authored over 70 scientific publications on marine fishes. He is the Chief Scientist on the Islands in the Stream 2002 mission to study spawning in deep reef fishes.

R. Martin BallR. Martin Ball, Ph.D.
Science Teacher
Charleston County School of the Arts

Marty Ball is a high school science teacher at Charleston County’s magnet school for the arts. His background is in the sciences with a BA in Biology from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Georgia. His research interests are in the area of population and aquaculture genetics with publications on species as varied as Redwing Blackbirds, Sea Scallops, Loggerhead Sea Turtles, and Atlantic Cod. Of all of the species he has worked with none has proven to be as interesting, perplexing and stimulating as the American High School Student with whom he has been working for the past three years. When he is not teaching Dr. Ball is a volunteer diver and exhibit guide at the South Carolina Aquarium.

Charles A. BaransCharles A. Barans, Ph.D.
Senior Marine Scientist
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Charlie Barans grew up in the Midwest “corn belt” and received a BS from Ohio State University (OSU). He obtained an MA in marine fisheries from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, and returned to OSU for his PhD. For more than 23 years, he assisted in guiding a team that developed fishery-independent research and assessments for the National Marine Fisheries Service's largest continuous contract (MARMAP) in the southeast. The resulting long-term databases were created with standardized techniques for detection of future changes in species relative abundances and fish assemblages in several important habitats. Also, production scale processing of life history materials was established, and several assessment techniques, including routine use of underwater video, were developed. At present, Dr. Barans is focusing on the application of multi-frequency acoustics to study plankton transport through inlets. Recent crusades include establishing marine fisheries reserves as ecosystem management tools and developing a mentor-based project to train minority students in marine and environmental science.


marion beal Marion Beal
Genetics Laboratory,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

In 1999 Marion Beal, a native to Charleston South Carolina, received a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Appalachian State University. After completing the program she returned to Charleston where she worked as a Naturalist on Kiawah Island. She started at SCDNR as a volunteer in the fall of 2000 and is currently a Biologist in the genetics lab. Marion’s most recent projects focus on genetic variations in Micro-satellite DNA of the Atlantic Croaker and Flounder.

Cynthia Cooksey Cynthia Cooksey
Marine Biologist
National Ocean Service, NOAA

Cynthia (Cindy) Cooksey is a marine biologist with the NOAA's Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Cooksey is originally from Maryland where she received a BA in biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland. She then moved to southern Virginia where she earned an MA in Marine Science from The College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, studying the reproductive biology of Spanish mackerel. She then headed further south to Cedar Key, Florida to assist in the establishment of a new field laboratory for the Florida Marine Research Institute. After starting out as the Marine Research Associate for the Fisheries-Independent Monitoring Program, Ms. Cooksey was promoted to Research Administrator for the Cedar Key Field Laboratory. Over time, her research interests have expanded which led her to join NOAA in 1999 where she could be part of a team dedicated to conducting integrative environmental monitoring studies aimed at assessing and predicting changes in the quality of coastal ecosystems in relation to human and natural influences. When not working, she enjoys going hiking with her husband and two dogs and volunteering with a local Border Collie Rescue group.

Stacie CroweStacie Crowe
Marine Biologist
Marine Resources Research Institute
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Stacie Crowe was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and received a BS in General Science from Penn State University in 1994. She then moved to South Florida where she completed her MS in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University, while studying the ecology and distribution of commensal amphipods from marine sponges. Currently, she works in the benthic taxonomy laboratory at the Marine Resources Research Institute in Charleston, SC., where she is involved in various projects investigating nearshore and estuarine benthic communities. Her general research interests include invertebrate taxonomy and commensal and parasitic relationships between crustaceans and other benthic marine organisms.


Joshua D. DubickJoshua D. Dubick
Marine Biology Research Technician,
National Ocean Service, NOAA

JD Dubick is a marine scientist at the Charleston National Ocean Service lab, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research. He earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University and an MS in marine sciences from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. In Puerto Rico, he conducted research on age, growth and reproduction of the spotted eagle ray. Prior to his work with NOAA, JD worked for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources conducting fisheries-independent biological surveys of the fauna of the South Atlantic Bight. While working with fish systematist, Dannie Hensley, he gained an interest in systematics and biogeography of marine organisms. This interest lead to his current position with NOS managing a newly created collection of benthic macroinvertebrates. The invertebrate collection will serve as a repository of voucher specimens from numerous benthic surveys and house additional specimens that will become available for future studies in systematics and taxonomy. He is being brought on board to help with the benthic surveys and collection of invertebrates and fishes on the submersible dives.

Lisa HollenLisa A. Hollen
Graduate Student
Environmental Studies Program, University of Charleston

Lisa Hollen is originally from Charleston, SC and received a BS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in 1997. After graduating, she began an internship at the NOAA Coastal Services Center with the Landscape Characterization and Restoration Program. Upon completion of her internship, Lisa moved to Atlanta where she worked as an environmental consultant and GIS analyst. Tired of city life and missing the ocean, Lisa returned to Charleston after a year and a half and worked as a GIS/Programmer Analyst for a natural resources management firm. Currently, Lisa works in the Marine Biotoxins Program at NOAA’s Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston. Lisa will be assisting Dr. Leslie Sautter with sample collection and education outreach. She will also be starting her graduate studies with Dr. Sautter in the Master of Environmental Studies Program at the University of Charleston in the fall.

Pamela Cox JuttePamela Cox Jutte, Ph.D.
Marine Scientist
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Pam Cox Jutte grew up in central Ohio, and developed an interest in marine invertebrates during her undergraduate years at Duke University. After finishing her B.S. in biology in 1993, she began her graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley. She completed field studies in Panama and Tahiti, and specialized in animal behavior and benthic ecology. Her dissertation research focused on the ecology, reproductive behavior, and visual systems of mantis shrimp. Upon the completion of her Ph.D. in 1997, she began working as a Marine Scientist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Her research projects have focused on the condition of nearshore hard bottom reefs following ocean disposal, the biological and physical effects of beach nourishment, and habitat quality in tidal creeks and coastal waters. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the College of Charleston’s Graduate Program and the Medical University of South Carolina’s Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Program.

Joshua K. LoeferJoshua K. Loefer
Marine Biologist
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Josh Loefer is a Marine Biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. He will assist with cruise logistics, data acquisition, GIS analysis, and sample collection. Josh holds a BA in biology from Furman University in 1996, and an MS in Marine Biology from the University of Charleston (SC) in 2000. His main research interests: the life history of sharks, snappers, and groupers; satellite telemetry tagging of billfishes and sharks; and the hydrography of the Charleston Bump complex.


John C. McGovernJohn C. McGovern, Ph.D.
Associate Marine Scientist,
Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction Program
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Jack McGovern was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and received a B.S. in Biology from Washington and Lee University in 1978. After spending several years renovating houses in Baltimore, Jack entered the graduate program in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston in 1981 where he examined the utilization of marsh habitats by fish larvae. After receiving a masters degree in 1986, he entered the graduate program at the College of William and Mary. His doctoral studies focused on factors that affect the recruitment of striped bass and he received a Ph.D. in 1991. Following two years with the Florida Department of Natural Resources, Jack was hired to oversee activities of the Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction Program (MARMAP). Jack and other MARMAP personnel spend considerable time at sea using standard gear types to monitor reef fish abundance along the southeastern United States, conducts life history studies on reef fishes, and identifies fish larvae. His research interests include recruitment of fishes; aspects of the life history and ecology of estuarine dependent and reef fishes; and early life history of fishes.


Scott MeisterScott Meister
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Scott Meister is a fisheries biologist for the Marine Resources Monitoring and Prediction (MARMAP) program, a co-operative between the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the National Marine Fisheries Service. His research background includes life history studies of black and bank sea bass as well as the deeper-dwelling wreckfish. Scott also has a great interest in the movement patterns of offshore reef fishes and is currently wrapping up a 5-year mark/recapture study of gag grouper and greater amberjack in the southeastern Atlantic. He has also conducted work on swimbladder deflation of reef fishes and the resulting affect on release mortality. Having been turned on to science at a young age, Scott enjoys working with local schools to promote awareness of the marine environment to students of all ages. Scott has a BA in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Germán Y. OjedaGermán Y. Ojeda, Ph.D.
Marine Geophysicist
Center for Marine and Wetland Studies
Coastal Carolina University

Germán Ojeda received a B.S. degree in Geology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, a M.S. in Applied Geophysics from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from Florida International University. Since 2000 he has worked as a marine geophysicist at Coastal Carolina University's Center for Marine and Wetland Studies. His recent research projects include the development of a spatially quantitative, near-real time system for seafloor habitat mapping based on side scan sonar data and submarine video records. He is also interested in mapping and analyzing the spatial distribution and natural variability of near-shore, low-relief, benthic habitats and in tracking and mapping the mobility of surficial sand lenses throughout the inner shelf. Germán Ojeda is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.


Paul OrlandoPaul Orlando
Special Projects Office, NOAA
Co-Expedition Coordinator, Islands in the Stream 2002

Paul Orlando is a physical scientist with NOAA’s National Ocean Service. He holds a Master's degree in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Mount Saint Mary’s College. Mr. Orlando has been with NOAA since 1983. Much of his work has centered on estuarine physical processes, pollution susceptibility, integrated coastal management and coastal monitoring. During the past 5 years, he has participated in the Sustainable Seas Expeditions (a National Geographic partnership) and served as co-expedition coordinator for the Islands in the Stream Expedition in 2001. On this cruise, he will be sporting the titles of co-expedition coordinator and data manager. He hopes these expeditions will continue to provide the valuable scientific information needed to support management and protection of underwater habitats as well as provide exciting new opportunities that increase public awareness and engage the educational community.

jeremy potterJeremy Potter
Sea Grant Fellow
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

Jeremy 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. Jeremy 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, Jeremy will be coordinating website contributions and assisting with database management for the first leg of IIS 2002 as well as the Arctic Expedition.

Robin D. SalonichRobin D. Salonich
Sandhills Intermediate School

Robin Salonich is originally from Isle of Palms, South Carolina. It was there she developed a deep love and interest in marine biology. She has presented at numerous state and national level conferences. She is a former JASON Project Trainer and is currently a JASON Project Online Facilitator. Robin teaches fifth grade mathematics and science in Swansea, South Carolina where she also serves as science chairperson. Robin is a former Conservation Teacher of the Year and the recipient of the Kids Growing with Dutch Bulbs and the 3M/SCWF Seed grants. She has been a National Geographic Society / JASON Project Field Institute Participant in Hawaii. Robin currently resides in West Columbia with her husband, four children and a managerie of class pets.

Leslie R. SautterLeslie R. Sautter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences,
College of Charleston

Leslie Sautter received her Ph.D. in geological sciences at the University of South Carolina in 1990. Her research focuses on the paleoecology and stable isotopic composition of planktonic foraminifera. She became a geology department faculty member at the College of Charleston, SC in 1992, and teaches classes in marine and coastal geology and general marine science to undergraduates, graduate students and K-12 teachers. Her activities devoted to promoting undergraduate research, and her involvement with developing new methods of teaching marine science to college students and teachers earned her the 2002 National Marine Education Award. With NOAA NOS funding, Sautter recently established Project Oceanica at the College of Charleston, which serves to bring scientific results to a broad audience of users through development of research-oriented education products and resources. Dr. Sautter participated in the Islands in the Stream 2001 expedition and will serve again as a shipboard geologist and science education liaison for Islands in the Stream 2002 expedition.


LaVern TaylorLaVern Taylor
Senior Marine Technician
University of Miami

LaVern is responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, and data quality control for the data acquisition, shipboard LAN, and high speed satellite communication systems on board the R/V Seward Johnson. These systems include 2 ADCPs, acoustic Doppler current profilers, 2 CTDs, Sea-Bird conductivity, temperature, depth water profilers equipped with various sensors and 24 discreet water sampling bottles, VIDS, virtual instrument data system for underway sea surface profiling, XBTs, expendable bathymetric temperature data acquisition system, MOCNESS net systems, gravity, piston, and multi-corers, bottom profilers, autosalinographs, ultra-pure water system, winkler titration systems, and winch block meter readouts.

David M. WyanskiDavid M. Wyanski
Fish Biologist
Marine Resources Research Institute,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

David Wyanski is a fish biologist with the Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction (MARMAP) Program, a cooperative fisheries monitoring and research program that is based at SCDNR in Charleston, SC, and supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service. He is a native of the New England states and received a B.A. degree in Zoology from the University of Maine. After working in Savannah, Georgia, as a research technician for a fish ecologist and as a middle school science teacher, he migrated to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, to complete an M.S. degree in Marine Science. He presently oversees the studies of fish reproduction that are part of the life history studies being conducted by MARMAP and participates in cruises to monitor the size and abundance of reef fishes. His other research interests are the taxonomy, growth, and movements of marine fish. He will be participating in the project to explore and describe reef fish spawning sites.

Leg 2—Outer Shelf and Slope

Steve W. RossDr. Steve W. Ross
Research Coordinator,
North Carolina Coastal Reserve
Principal Investigator, Outer Shelf and Slope Project

Dr. Ross is a native of North Carolina and has spent most of his career involved in the marine sciences of this area. He earned a BS degree in Zoology from Duke University, a Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a PhD from NC State Univ. He has been the Research Coordinator for the NC Coastal Reserve Program (NC Div. Coastal Management) for the last 12 years. He holds adjunct faculty appointments at NC State Univ. and UNC-Wilmington. His area of specialization is ichthyology (fishes), particularly in areas of ecology and life history (age, growth, feeding, reproduction) studies. He has conducted numerous, diverse projects in estuaries and offshore waters and has served as chief scientist on many cruises, including several using submersibles. The current work of Dr. Ross and his team involves assessment of the fish communities of several unique deep water habitats off the southeastern US. In particular they are looking at energy flow (trophodynamics) and relationships of animals to various habitats, including coral banks, canyon systems, and rocky areas. One ultimate goal of such studies is to provide information for these poorly known areas that will facilitate management and protection of productive habitats.

Liz BairdLiz Baird
Coordinator of Distance Learning
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Co-Principal Investigator, Outer Shelf and Slope Project

As coordinator of distance learning at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Liz is accustomed to working with students and teachers who are many miles away. During the Deep South mission Liz will be sharing the research activities with the public via satellite transmissions from the ship. Liz will work closely with the researchers and the ship’s crew to answer questions sent from students as well as assisting where needed with the research team. Liz’s work with the Museum includes teaching via videoconferencing and satellite as well as leading teacher treks in North Carolina, Maine and Belize. She has a BS in Biology from Salem College and is currently working on her MS in Science Education at North Carolina State University.

Fritz RohdeFritz Rohde
Senior Biologist
North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries
Co-Principal Investigator, Outer Shelf and Slope Project

Fritz Rohde (Fred C. Rohde) has worked for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries for 19 years. Early in his career he started an investigation of North Carolina’s commercial reef fish fishery (snapper grouper-porgy complex). He has continued these studies to the present as well as taking on additional responsibilities with the Division. Fritz earned a BS in fisheries and wildlife biology from Iowa State University and a MS in zoology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He serves on the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council’s Snapper-Grouper Assessment Team and SEAMAP’s Bottom Mapping Workgroup. Fritz has been involved in a wide variety of research projects, from fishes in the freshwaters of the southeastern US to the offshore deepwater grouper complex.

Dr. Kenneth J. SulakDr. Kenneth J. Sulak
Fish Biologist, Coastal Ecology and Conservation Research Group
Florida Caribbean Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Co-Principal Investigator, Outer Shelf and Slope Project

As a member of the Islands in the Stream 2002 exploration mission team, Ken Sulak is collaborating with Dr. Steve Ross and Fritz Rohde in conducting submersible video investigations of deep reef fish community structure. Dr. Sulak has a BA from Harvard, and MS and PhD from the University of Miami, and has conducted postdoctoral work in England as a NATO Fellow and in Russia as a National Academy exchange scientist. Dr. Sulak has pursued oceanic, coastal, and estuarine fish research in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, with an emphasis on deep water fish ecology. He currently leads the U.S. Geological Survey Northeastern Gulf of Mexico deep reef fish community ecology program, in addition to leading critical habitat and life history research on anadromous and estuarine fishes. Ongoing research on Gulf of Mexico deep water reef fishes presents a close and instructive parallel to the North Carolina outer shelf deep reef missions.

John McDonoughJohn McDonough
Special Projects Office, NOAA
Expedition Coordinator, Islands in the Stream 2002

John McDonough received his Master’s degree in environmental science and policy from the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC in 1998, and a B.S. in coastal geomorphology from the University of Maryland in 1989. He has been a physical scientist with NOAA’s National Ocean Service since 1989, where he developed data and geographic information systems related to coastal and marine environments, and applied that information to help prepare management plans for marine protected areas. Most recently, Mr. McDonough has been serving as the project manager for large-scale undersea research expeditions using a variety of tools and techniques including manned and unmanned submersibles. Specific efforts include the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a joint endeavor between NOAA and the National Geographic Society to explore the system of National Marine Sanctuaries managed by NOAA’s National Ocean Service. He is committed to exploring and learning more about natural systems in marine and coastal areas, providing the data and information required for effective ecosystem-based management.


Martha S. NizinskiMartha S. Nizinski, PhD
National Marine Fisheries Service National Systematics Laboratory,

Martha Nizinski is a zoologist for NOAA/NMFS National Systematics Laboratory. Dr. Nizinski earned a BS in biology at West Virginia Wesleyan College, a MS in zoology at University of Maryland, College Park, and her PhD in marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, School of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. She has worked at the Systematics Laboratory since 1987, first as a technician, then as a zoologist. After completion of her doctoral degree in 1998, Dr. Nizinski began her research program studying the biodiversity, biogeography, taxonomy and systematics of marine invertebrates, particularly decapod crustaceans. Her current research interests include biodiversity, biogeography and community structure of decapod crustaceans, impact of spiny lobster predation on their molluscan prey assemblage, biodiversity of shallow-water gastropod and bivalve molluscs, and fish systematics. Dr. Nizinski will assist with sampling and data collection, including submersible operations, and will oversee invertebrate collections.

Leg 3—Visual Ecology, Bioluminescence and New Pharmacological Resources

Shirley A. PomponiShirley A. Pomponi, Ph.D. [ microphone OceanAGE interview ]
Vice President and Director of Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Principal Investigator, New Pharmacological Resources Project

Shirley Pomponi is one of the 3 co-principal investigators of the Islands in the Stream 2002 Expedition for Discovery of New Resources with Pharmaceutical Potential. She has led numerous research expeditions to the tropical western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean, and to the Galapagos Islands, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Seychelles, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Lake Baikal, Russia. Her research interests are on the systematics and cell biology of marine sponges, one of the primary sources of chemicals with pharmaceutical potential. A major emphasis of her research is on the development of cell culture methods for sustainable use of marine resources for drug discovery and development. Dr. Pomponi is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the National Research Council’s Committee on Exploration of the Seas. She grew up in southern New Jersey, received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of St. Elizabeth, and received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami, RSMAS. She has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications in marine biotechnology, biodiversity, cell and molecular biology, systematics and natural products chemistry.

John K. Reed John K. Reed [ microphone OceanAGE interview ]
Senior Research Specialist
Division of Biomedical Marine Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Co-Principal Investigator, New Pharmacological Resources Project

John Reed is one of 3 co-principal investigators of the Islands in the Stream 2002 Expedition for Discovery of New Resources with Pharmaceutical Potential. Mr. John Reed is Department Head of the Sample Acquisition and Taxonomy Program at DBMR for biomedical research to discover pharmaceutically active compounds from marine organisms. Mr. Reed is Chief Scientist for DBMR in charge of supervising and organizing >60 worldwide collection expeditions for biomedical research with HBOI’s research vessels, submersibles, and land-based expeditions. He is responsible for curating 30,000 specimens of marine organisms in DBMR’s taxonomic museum collection and managing the collection database, photographic library, and videotape library. Mr Reed is also the Diving Safety Officer for all diving activities from Harbor Branch vessels and by a staff of 60 research divers. He has logged 35 deep-water lockout dives with helium-oxygen from Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles, logged >2000 scientific scuba dives, and >150 scientific dives in the Johnson-Sea-Link and Clelia submersibles. Mr. Reed's research on the deep-water Oculina coral banks off Florida since 1976 has resulted in over 45 publications and the establishment of a 300 sq.mi. Marine Protected Area for these reefs. Mr. Reed received his B.S. from the University of Miami and M.S. specializing in marine ecology from Florida Atlantic University in 1975.

Tamara FrankTamara Frank, Ph.D.
Biological Oceanographer
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Principal Investigator, Visual Ecology and Bioluminescence Project

Dr. Frank is currently the head of the Visual Ecology Department in the division of Marine Science at HBOI. She is studying how downwelling light controls the behavior and distribution patterns of midwater animals during the day as well as how it triggers their vertical migrations at night. Her work combines in situ studies from the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible to quantify animal distribution patterns with shipboard based laboratory studies on the photosensitivity of animals brought up with midwater trawl nets. She is particularly interested in the adaptations of animal eyes to dim light environments, and on this expedition, will be working on benthic crustaceans retrieved from depths of up to 700 m. She has participated in over 70 research cruises, both as chief scientist and lucky hitchhiker, conducting work in the Gulf of Maine, and off the coasts of the Bahamas, Cuba, California, Hawaii and the Canary Islands. Her educational background includes a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara, and post-doctoral fellowships from the University of Connecticut Medical School, Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

Edith A. Widder Edith A. Widder, Ph.D. [ microphone OceanAGE interview ]
Senior Scientist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Co-Principal Investigator, Visual Ecology and Bioluminescence Project

Edie Widder received her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1982. She joined Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in 1989 where she is now senior scientist and director of the Bioluminescence Department. She also holds adjunct appointments at Johns Hopkins University, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Florida Atlantic University and Florida Institute of Technology. Her research interests in bioluminescence developed out of her experience piloting the single-person submersibles Wasp and Deep Rover. In 1984, working from Deep Rover, she made the first video recordings of bioluminescence in the ocean and has been striving to accurately quantify the phenomenon ever since. This enterprise has involved the development of a number of instrument systems, including the HIDEX-BP on which she co-holds the patent and which is now the standard in the U.S. Navy for measuring bioluminescence in the world’s oceans. She is also the developer of Eye-in-the-Sea, a deep-sea observatory designed to record bioluminescence behaviors in the ocean. Besides being an author on over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications, Dr. Widder has recently produced a children’s book on bioluminescence, “The Bioluminescence Coloring Book” and an award winning educational video, “Bioluminescence: Secret Lights in the Sea”.

Brian CousinBrian Cousin
Video Production Specialist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Since 1993, Brian Cousin has been Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution's video production specialist. He has documented leading-edge scientific research and development at the institution and on various missions to the Bahamas, the Galapagos archipelago, the Gulf of Maine and Mexico. While his name is rarely seen in the credits, Brian's video footage has been included in television documentaries produced around the world. In addition, Brian has produced award winning video programming for Harbor Branch, including a 26-minute program entitled “Marine Bioluminescence: Secret Lights in the Sea". Produced in collaboration with Harbor Branch’s Dr. Edith Widder, the video provides an excellent background on the phenomenon of marine bioluminescence, and features previously unseen footage captured by Dr. Widder and her colleagues across the country. Brian is a certified Harbor Branch scuba diver and a member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. His diving experience ranges from cave-diving – perhaps the ultimate in confined-space diving – to blue water diving – essentially open-ocean diving in a referenceless enviornment, often likened to space walking. On this mission Brian will be the at-sea web coordinator and videographer providing still and video images to the NOAA Ocean Explorer web site.

Erika HeineErika Heine
Graduate Student
Johns Hopkins University / Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Currently Erika is pursuing a doctorate degree in Oceanography at Johns Hopkins University. She bases her research out of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution under the guidance of Dr. Edith Widder. Erika is primarily interested in the spatial and temporal distribution of coastal bioluminescence and plans to take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the mechanisms for creating and maintaining bioluminescent communities. Erika worked at Hopkins Marine Station researching the population genetics of threatened salmonid populations in California after completing her BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) at San Luis Obispo. She retuned to Cal Poly for her MS in biology, completing her thesis on phytoplankton communities and costal bioluminescence. During this time, she participated in collaborative efforts at Rutgers Marine Station and MBARI. This summer Erika is researching the relationship between bioluminescent flash kinetics in dinoflagellates and their toxicity. On the cruise Erika will be assisting with the studies of benthic bioluminescence, as well as collecting potentially bioluminescent and toxic species of dinoflagellates for testing and culturing.

Peter HerringPeter Herring, Ph.D.
Southampton Oceanography Centre

APeter Herring took his first degree and Ph.D. at Cambridge University and spent 18 months at sea on the International Indian Ocean Expedition during the Ph.D. Fired by this experience he joined the UK Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in 1966 as a oceanic biologist. He worked first on the pigments of deep-sea animals and then focused on the physiology and ecology of bioluminescence in the deep-sea environment, and its relation to vision. This has remained his major research interest throughout his career but he has also worked on the distribution and visual physiology of hydrothermal vent shrimp and the distribution of midwater animals in relation to the oxygen minimum in the NW Indian Ocean. He has developed techniques for the better capture and collection of live deep-sea animals and has been involved as participant or Chief Scientist in over 60 research cruises on the ships of 5 different nations. He is fascinated by the capabilities of deep-sea animals and regards sea-going research as the best part of his scientific career. He ranks his previous dives in the Johnson SeaLink among his most rewarding experiences. He now holds the post of Honorary Professor at the Southampton Oceanography Centre and his book The Biology of the Deep Ocean was published this year by Oxford University Press.


Nicolas JoanninNicolas Joannin
Research Assistant
Division of Biomedical Marine Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Nicolas Joannin obtained his M.S. in Ecology and Population Genetics at the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. He moved to Florida where he worked for the research and development division of Sea Farms Group (a shrimp aquaculture group). A year and a half later he took his current position at HBOI where he investigates the genetic potential of marine organisms under the supervision of Dr. Amy Wright. On this cruise, Mr. Joannin will assist with the collection, preservation and genetic analysis of deep sea organisms.

Sönke Johnsen, Ph.D.
Asssistant Professor
Duke University

Dr. Johnsen is currently an assistant professor in the Biology Department at Duke University. He studies the affect of light on oceanic organisms, in particular how animals hide from predators and prey in the open sea, an area devoid of normal hiding places. His work combines field studies on oceanic research cruises with microscopy and mathematical modeling of light propagation through tissue and water. He is particularly in interested in various forms of crypsis such as whole body transparency, cryptic coloration, reflectivity, and bioluminescence. Other interests include the use of UV and polarization vision as camouflage breakers, and the physical basis underlying the ability of some oceanic animals to navigate over long distances using features of the earth's magnetic field.

chavisPaula Keener-Chavis
National Education Coordinator
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

Paula Keener-Chavis (MS, University of Charleston) is the National Education Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. She has conducted extensive marine fisheries research off the southeastern coast of the U.S., sponsored by NOAA, and research off the coast of Belize, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. She has published scientific articles on her research and writes articles for a variety of publications, including marine science curricula and a book entitled "Of Sand and Sea: Teachings From the Southeastern Shoreline." She served as a member of The President's Panel on Ocean Exploration and is Past-President (2000-2001) of the National Marine Educators Association. Paula headed up the team that produced lesson plans and other educational resources for the Deep East 2001 Expedition. She works with scientists and educators to produce lesson plans and Professional Development Institutes for Ocean Exploration Expeditions and heads up other education and outreach initiatives with NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Program.

Mikhail MatzMikhail Matz, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist
Whitney Laboratory, University of Florida

In 2001 Mikhail Matz became a faculty member of the Whitney Laboratory, University of Florida. He received his BA and MS in molecular biology from Moscow State University, Russia, and has been trained as a top-level gene hunter during his graduate program and subsequent work as research scientist at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Moscow, Russia. His research (which he defines as “molecular oceanography”) involves screening various marine organisms for genes and proteins that could become potential tools and/or models for basic biomedical and marine biology studies, and pursuing the most promising of the new directions that arise as a result. His current project (funded by NIH) is cloning and characterization of fluorescent proteins homologous to the green fluorescent protein (GFP).

Nicole McMullenNicole McMullen
Research Assistant
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Nicole recently completed her bachelor’s degree in marine biology at Florida Atlantic University. While pursuing her undergraduate degree she interned at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). At DISL Nicole studied the effects of eutrophication and predator removal on seagrass ecosystems. During her senior internship at HBOI she examined the roles of hunger and satiation as proximate controls of the vertical migrations of mid-water crustaceans. Nicole is now pursuing her master’s degree at FAU under the supervision of Dr. Tammy Frank. Her research will focus on the visual ecology of crustaceans.

Tara PittsTara Pitts
Research Specialist
Division of Biomedical Marine Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Tara Pitts has worked in DBMR for over 15 years. She has participated in many research expeditions with HBOI’s ships and submersibles. Tara got her BS in marine biology from Florida Tech in Melbourne, Florida. She also has received an AS in Medical Laboratory Technology from Indian River Community College. Tara started working with DBMR in the microbiology group and now works in the biological screening group. She tests our sample extracts for any type of biological activity. The majority of our testing these days is on cancer cells. Tara also works on mechanism of action studies of the active pure compounds that are isolated through biologically guided purification. On this expedition Tara will be focusing on helping the microbiology group with their isolations as well as helping in the daily processing of the collected samples.

Arte RomanArte Roman
Olympia High School

Arte Roman lives in Orlando, Florida. He currently teaches Marine Science and Biology to 9th-12th graders at Olympia High School. In 1997, Mr. Roman received his Bachelors degrees in Marine Biology and Ecology from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. After that, he served as an intern on the Kissimmee River Restoration Project before entering the Masters program at the University of Central Florida. There, he studied marine invertebrates and wrote his thesis on the growth habits of an ascidian (sea squirt) called Perophora viridis. Mr. Roman loves to teach the odd and fascinating things that he learned when he was a student. When he isn't teaching, Mr. Roman looks to join research expeditions to gain experiences that he can bring back to the classroom. His primary role on this expedition is to record a daily log to document the events of the cruise. This way he can share his first-hand experiences with students in his classroom or around the world.

Eric WarrantEric Warrant, Ph.D.
Professor of Zoology
University of Lund, Sweden

Eric Warrant is a relative newcomer to the world of marine biology, but his fascination for the strategies that animals use to see in very dim light has led to an intense interest in the visual world of the deep sea. Dr. Warrant studied Physics at the University of New South Wales (Australia) and obtained a Ph.D. in Visual Science from the Australian National University in 1990. He has been at the Zoology department of the University of Lund for the past 12 years, and currently leads a research group that studies the visual performance of nocturnal animals, particularly insects, with methods that include electrophysiology, optics, morphology, behaviour and mathematical modelling. He has recently taken these methods aboard the NOAA research vessel "Townsend Cromwell" as part of an international research project investigating the sensory systems of pelagic fishes and turtles. The success of these cruises has inspired Dr. Warrant to attempt the same types of experiments during the current exploration, but this time on deep-sea fishes, an immensely challenging task.


Robin WilloughbyRobin Willoughby, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Division of Biomedical Marine Research Invertebrate Laboratory
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Robin Willoughby’s research focuses on in vitro culture of marine sponges and spans a diversity of disciplines ranging from organism collection and primary culture initiation to micro-scale gene expression studies. At Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Dr. Willoughby works in the Division of Biomedical Marine Research Invertebrate Laboratory and addresses questions in marine sponge cell biology. She received a PhD and MS from Florida Institute of Technology. On the South Atlantic Bight Deep Reef Expedition, she will be collecting and dissociating sponges for culture and gene expression studies for two lines of research: to better understand the basic cell biology of these remarkably simple multicellular animals, and to investigate how and why sponges produce chemicals that may treat human diseases such as cancer. One goal of the research is to design systems for the in vitro production of marine sponge-derived compounds with human therapeutic potential. Dr. Willoughby also uses cellular and molecular perspectives to focus on the functional ecology of sponges and other marine invertebrates. This expedition is her first opportunity to study sponges from the South Atlantic Bight region.

Amy E. WrightAmy E. Wright, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Biomedical Marine Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Inst.

For the past 23 years, Dr. Wright has conducted research in the field of natural products chemistry. She earned her doctorate in Organic Chemistry from the University for Califronia, Riverside working under the direction of Dr. James Sims. Currently she is the Director of the Division of Biomedical Marine Research and the Head of the Natural Products Chemistry group. Her research program focuses on the exploration of deep water organisms as the source of novel marine natural products. Current research projects emphasize drug discovery, evaluation of the ecological role of marine natural products; applications of natural products chemistry to systematics of the Porifera and deep water Gorgonacea; development of micro-analytical methods for monitoring aqua and cell cultures used in the production of therapeutically important marine natural products; studies on the role of microbial associates in the production of therapeutically interesting natural products; and identification of the gene clusters responsible for polyketide synthesis and use of the same in recombinant production of natural and “un-natural” natural productions.

During exploration of shelf-edge reefs, we will map bottom features and oceanographic features such as upwelling areas, and observe fish to determine if spawning is occurring. We hope to measure physical conditions, such as bottom type and circulation, that result in the formation of aggregations of spawning fishes, so that such aggregations can be managed for sustained fisheries.


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