Mission Plan
Mission Plan


Geology: Dive Sites
Geology: Dive Sites

Underwater Images
Underwater Imaging

Animal Capture-the Bio Box
Animal Capture

polarization vision
Polarization Vision

Eye in the Sea




Operation Deep Scope 2005 Explorers

Karen BreitlowKaren Breitlow
Graduate Student
Florida Atlantic University

Karen Breitlow received a BS in biology and marine science from theUniversity of Miami in 2004, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in biological sciences from Florida Atlantic University under the guidance of Dr. Edie Widder. She is currently interested in the ecological role of bioluminescence in dinoflagellates.

Jonathan Cohen Jonathan Cohen
Post-doctoral Fellow
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Jon is a postdoctoral fellow at HBOI, working in the Visual Ecology Department.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, and his Ph.D. from Duke University.  Jon is a comparative physiologist whose major research focus is to better understand the role of sensory systems in the lives of marine animals.  He currently works on copepods – a group of tiny crustacean zooplankton that are among the most abundant animals on the planet. Jon uses microscopy, electrophysiology, and behavior to study eyes, visual processes, and behavioral ecology of copepods from low light midwater habitats and high light surface waters.

Lenny CollazoLenny Collazo
Anteon Corporation
Database Administrator
NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center

Lenny Collazo received a BS in electrical engineering and an MBA from Texas A & M University. He currently works as the database administrator for the NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He is part of a team responsible for reviewing and improving the data management process for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration. Lenny will be one of the data managers on the Deep Scope Expedition.

Brian Cousin Brian Cousin
Video Production Specialist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Brian Cousin is the Video Production Specialist at Harbor BranchOceanographic Institution. On this Ocean Exploration mission he will be documenting the action with broadcast-quality video. He will also serve as correspondent for Harbor Branch's @sea (at-sea.org) ocean science adventure website, providing regular dispatches and pictures from the cruise. In almost 12 years at Harbor Branch, Brian has documented the institution's marine science activities in the Galapagos archipelago, Mexico and the Bahamas, as well as points around the United States including the Gulf of Mexico during last year’s Ocean Exploration "Deep Scope" cruise.

Tamara FrankTamara Frank, PhD
Biological Oceanographer
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Tamara Frank is currently the head of the Visual Ecology Department in the marine science division at HBOI. Her research focuses on how light controls the daytime distributions and vertical migrations of mid-water animals. 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 mid-water trawl nets. She is particularly interested in animal-eye adaptations to dim light environments. She has participated in over 70 research cruises, both as chief scientist and lucky hitchhiker. She received a BA from California State University, Long Beach; an MA and PhD from University of California, Santa Barbara; and postdoctoral fellowships from the University of Connecticut Medical School, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon, and HBOI.

Lee FreyLee Frey
Ocean Engineer
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Lee heads the Software & Systems Engineering Group at HBOI, and specializes in the design and development of instruments, tools, and underwater vehicles for marine science.  He is currently working as lead engineer on several instruments related to the bioluminescence research of Dr. Edith Widder, including HIDEX Gen-III, LoLAR, and Eye-In-The-Sea. On this mission, he will provide technical expertise during deployments of the recently re-designed LoLAR and Eye-In-The-Sea instruments. Lee received his M.S. degree in Ocean Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Susan GottfriedSusan Gottfried
Software Engineer
Planning Systems, Inc./NOAA Coastal Data Development Center

Susan is an employee of Planning Systems, Inc. and is currently the Project Manager for developing an end-to-end data management system for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration (OE) expeditions. She is testing the first development phase of a web-based at-sea information gathering component of the Cruise Information Management System (CIMS) being developed by NOAA’s Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) for OE.  Susan has a B.S. in Computer Science from Louisiana State University.

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

Erika Heine is pursuing a PhD in oceanography at Johns Hopkins University. She bases her research out of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution under the guidance of Dr. Edith Widder. She is primarily interested in the spatial and temporal distribution of coastal bioluminescence. On this cruise, Erika will use the Eye-in-the-Sea camera system to observe the response patterns of deep-sea visual predators to artificial bioluminescence. She received both a BS and MS in biology from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo; and she participated in collaborative efforts at Rutgers Marine Station and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Sönke JohnsenSönke Johnsen, PhD
Assistant Professor
Duke University

Sönke Johnsen is an assistant professor in the biology department at Duke University. He studies the effect of light on oceanic organisms, in particular how animals hide from predators and prey in the open sea. His work combines field studies on oceanic research cruises with microscopy and mathematical modeling of light propagation through tissue and water. He is particularly 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. He holds a BA in mathematics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Karen KonzenKaren Konzen
Research Assistant
University of Florida

Karen Konzen is a research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Mikhail Matz at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. She has a background in both marine and molecular biology with a B.S. from Bowling Green State University and a M.S. from the University of Mississippi.  She is involved in several projects including the cloning of new fluorescent genes from corals and other deep-sea organisms. She also teaches Biology at Keiser College in Jacksonville Florida.


Justin MarshallJustin Marshall, PhD
Marine Biologist
Vision Touch and Hearing Research Centre
QBI, University of Queensland

Justin Marshall studied zoology at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and went on to specialize in sensory neurobiology of marine animals during his doctoral studies at Sussex University in England. His research's principal aim is to understand how animals perceive their environment. By taking an approach to sensory systems that is based around ecology but also includes physiology, anatomy, behavior and neural integration, this research is helping to reveal the signals that animals use and their intentions. He has worked extensively on the stomatopods (mantis shrimps), reef-dwelling crustaceans with the world's most complex color-vision system. Currently, he is studying the way in which animals use ultraviolet light and polarization (a feature of light to which humans are blind) in communication.

Mikhail V. MatzMikhail V. Matz, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Mikhail Matz is a research assistant professor at University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. He is studying the genetics and evolution of coloration, fluorescence, and luminescence in marine organisms. The main focus of his research is the evolutionary origin of the color diversity of coral reefs. His approaches include cloning of new genes, phylogenetic analysis of molecular sequences, application of “molecular clock” strategy to estimate evolutionary times, recreation of ancestral proteins, population genetics, and gene expression profiling. In addition to corals, Mikhail is also interested in the evolution of coloration and bioluminescent systems in deep-sea animals. In 1991, he graduated from Moscow State University (Russia) biology department; he received his PhD from Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (Moscow) in 1999.

Cindy RenkasCindy Renkas
Web Coordinator
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

Cindy Renkas has been a classroom science teacher for most of her adult life.  She has no idea how she became interested in oceanography growing up as she did in Wyoming, but the interest flourished when she lived in Charleston, South Carolina and taught at a school directly on Charleston Harbor. From 1999-2004, she taught in international schools in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa and Caracas, Venezuela, arriving in both countries just in time for coup d’etats which created opportunities for many up-close-and-personal history in the making lessons.  She is thrilled to be able to bring up-close-and-personal ocean science in the making experiences to the public through her position as an Educational Specialist with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration.

Dan SpiecerDan Speiser
Graduate Student
Duke University

Dan Speiser graduated from Carleton College in 2003 with a B.A. in biology and a desire to see the world. An interest in the evolution of sensory systems led him, in 2004, to join Sönke Johnsen’s lab at Duke University. He spent his first year getting closely acquainted with optics, opsins, and various marine invertebrates (some more sociable than others). While Dan’s primary project at Duke is focused on the origin and evolution of bivalve eyes, he will be blue-water diving and studying bioluminescence as a member of the Deep Scope 2005 expedition.

Edith A. WidderEdith A. Widder, PhD [ microphone OceanAGE profile ]
President and Senior Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association
Formerly of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Edie Widder received her PhD in neurobiology in 1982 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1989, she joined HBOI, where she is 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. In 1984, working from the single-person submersible Deep Rover, she made the first video recordings of bioluminescence in the ocean. She has been striving to quantify the phenomenon ever since. This enterprise has involved the development of several instrument systems, including the HIDEX-BP on which she co-holds the patent. (The system is now the standard in the U.S. Navy for measuring bioluminescence in the oceans.) She also developed Eye-in-the-Sea, a deep-sea observatory designed to record bioluminescence behaviors. Besides authoring articles for over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, Dr. Widder has produced two children’s books -- The Bioluminescence Coloring Book and Lucinda’s Lamps: A Mermaid’s Guide to Bioluminescence -- as well as an award-winning educational video, “Bioluminescence: Secret Lights in the Sea."