INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 Explorers
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Eleonora Barroso is studying oceanography at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, in Chile. She has been working at this university, linked to the Submarine Gas Hydrate Project (since 2005), where she has been developing her graduate thesis — the "Assessment of Geophysical Exploration Methods for Submarine Gas Hydrates." Her scientific interests include technologies for submarine exploration, mainly focused on bathymetric methods, gas hydrates, seabed structure, and seabed fluids. During the last five years she has acquired knowledge of technical survey methods and instruments for bathymetric, marine heat flow, marine seismic reflection, and CSEM exploration. She has participated in three research cruises — expeditions to the Chilean continental margin aboard the research vessel (R/V) Vidal Gormaz (VG04 and VG06) and the R/V Sonne.
Tamara Baumberger received her master’s degree in Earth sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Zurich (ETH Zurich) in 2006 and is presently a doctoral student in the marine geology and geochemistry group at ETH. Her research interests focus on the study of hydrothermal vent sites. She specializes in characterizing the fluids and gases by identify the geochemical composition and using their isotopic signatures to provide insights into their origin and interactions with rocks and sediments. During this cruise, she use shipboard gas chromatographic analysis to determine the concentrations of hydrogen and methane dissolved in fluid samples .
Universidad Católica del Norte
Karen Belmar is student of marine biology at the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), studying the cytogenetics of marine invertebrates. She is working on an undergraduate thesis entitled "Comparación Cariotípica de Littorina (Austrolittorina) peruviana (Lamarck, 1822) y Littorina (Austrolittorina) araucana (Orbigny, 1840)." Karen serves as an instructor for a genetics course offered to engineers studying aquaculture and marine biology at the UCN. Her scientific interests on this cruise focus on the cytogenetic of marine organism living in cold seep systems.
Donna Blackman is a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). Her main research area is oceanic spreading centers, with an emphasis on how tectonics and mantle flow and melting along ridge-transform systems vary and what that tells us about the underlying processes. She employs a variety of geophysical methods, including observations of seafloor morphology and geology, modeling of gravity data, seismic measurements using ocean bottom seismographs and towed sensors, and numerical modeling of deformation. Blackman's geologic studies began in California at Pasadena City College and University of California – Santa Cruise, as well as at the U.S. Geological Survey – Pacific Marine Geology Branch. Her graduate studies were at Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Brown University. She did her post-doctoral work at University of Washington and subsequently at SIO, where she's been since 1992.
Kate Buckman received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Cortado College and her doctorate in biological oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program. She is currently a post-doctoral investigator and a member of Tim Shank's lab at the WHOI, where she studies the ecology of hydrothermal vent fauna. Buckman is interested in trophic relationships and biotic-abiotic interactions, and she has a particular fondness for fish. She has participated in numerous research cruises to hydrothermal systems and looks forward to assisting in the exploration for new vent sites as a member of the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 team.
Ximena J. Contardo Berrios is a Chilean geologist. She studied at the Universidad de Concepción, and received a PhD from Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta. She joined the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in 2009 as an associate professor and investigator. Her research interests in marine geology include the tectonics of the south-central Chilean margin and the dynamics of marine basins (evaluated by using high resolution seismic lines and analogue modeling). Currently, her interests include the tectonic structures with seismogenic potential along the continental margin. Another research focus has been studies of association and mineralogical provenance in marine sediments of
the Beagle Channel and Bahía Nassau, in Southern Chile. Berrios participated in Chilean cruises in 1997 and also in German scientific cruises (aboard the research vessel Sonne) along the south-central Chilean Margin in 2001 and 2002. She will participate in the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 cruise as a national observer for the Chilean state. She is excited to learn more about the geology and biology of the Chile triple junction.
Al Duester has been working with autonomous underwater vehicles for almost 25 years with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is the electrical engineer responsible for repairing and maintaining the batteries and electronic systems on the automomous benthic explorer (ABE) on this cruise. Immediately following this cruise, he will be shipped off to the Galapagos to do the same with ABE's improved successor, Sentry.
Christopher R. German
Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Born in the UK, Chris German studied chemistry and geology at the University of Cambridge, where he earned his BA in natural sciences in 1984, and then stayed on in the Earth Sciences Department to complete his PhD in marine geochemistry in 1988. Following graduation, German spent 2 years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a NATO Post-doctoral Research Fellow, during which time he began work on hydrothermal systems which has shaped much of his career ever since. From 1990 to 2005, German worked for the UK's national deep-ocean research center, studying the geologic setting of hydrothermal systems and their impact on ocean geochemistry. Along the way he pioneered techniques for systematic vent exploration, including novel use of autonomous underwater vehicles. This led to German serving (since 2003) as co-chair of the Census of Marine Life Chemosynthetic Ecosystem Science (ChEss) project, investigating the biogeography of animals in vent and seep locations around the world. In 2005, German moved joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as their chief scientist for deep submergence. A veteran of more than 1,000 days at sea and 100-plus articles in the peer-reviewed literature, he continues to explore new deep-ocean environments worldwide.
Ron Greene has been part of the NOAA VENTS chemistry group, working out of Newport, Oregon, for 18 years. He is a research technician at Oregon Statue University (OSU) and has a bachelor's degree in geological oceanography from the University of Washington. He specializes in the collection and processing of seawater samples for helium, along with the data analysis. The degree of mantle enrichment of helium isotopes 3He and 4He found in the seawater samples is determined by using a high vacuum extraction lab and a sensitive mass spectrometer in Newport. Green enjoys shipboard life as he used to fish commercially and spent time in the Navy.
Ben Grupe is a second year PhD student in the biological oceanography program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He is interested in gastropods (limpets and snails) and other epifauna that live on hard substrates at Chiléan seeps and vents. During the INSPIRE: Chile 2010 cruise, he plans to investigate how diet is related to the physical environment by analyzing the stable isotopes and fatty acids of individuals in different habitats and on various substrata (such as, rocks, shells, and wood). Grupe also plans to use population genetics to determine whether the gastropods we discover at Chiléan seeps and vents are related to species found in other parts of the Pacific Ocean, such as Costa Rica or Oregon. Molecular markers can help us answer whether there is population connectivity or gene flow between similar habitats separated by thousands of kilometers. Grupe hopes to use trace elemental fingerprinting to analyze the larval shells of juvenile gastropods, thus providing insight into basic questions about the larval ecology of seep and vent fauna.
Monica Heintz is a fifth year PhD student at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Her research focus is on methanotrophy (microbially-mediated methane consumption) in marine waters and arctic lakes. Heintz' goal is to develop a predictive understanding of the variables that control methanotrophic populations and their rates of methane consumption in waters from various methane-rich environments. On the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 cruise, she will collect water samples to measure methane concentrations and methane oxidation rates, and to identify and enumerate the responsible microbes at seeps and hydrothermal sites. She has done similar work in Southern California Borderland Basins, in the oxygen minimum zone off western Mexico and Central America, and in five Alaskan lakes. She is supported by the National Energy Technology Laboratory Methane Hydrates Research Fellowship.
Ashlee Henig is a third year PhD student at Scripps studying geophysics and geology. Her thesis work involves using marine seismic data to study the subsurface structure of the seafloor at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Aboard the ship, Henig will be creating and interpreting seafloor maps of the Chile margin and triple junction region, looking for structural features associated with vents, seeps, and stresses. A cruise goal will be to characterize the surface manifestations of tectonic forces at a location where a spreading ridge is actively subducting beneath a continental margin.
Rosa León-Zayas is a third year PhD student in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine biology research division, working under the guidance of Dr. Douglas Bartlett. She is interested in deep-sea microbial communities, which experience extreme conditions of low temperature, high pressure, absence of sunlight, and more recalcitrant sources of organic nutrients. By using “creative culturing” approaches she attempts to culture novel piezophiles (high pressure-requiring microbes), which have been suggested from culture-independent studies to be important members of certain deep-sea microbial communities. Her study is focused in the Puerto Rico Trench and she is now venturing into the Peru-Chile Trench. The final goal is to obtain more information about the metabolic interactions and physiological processes happening in the deepest parts of our planet. During the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 cruise, her sampling efforts will be concentrated on acquiring hadal water and sediment samples from the Peru-Chile Trench to assess the diversity and properties of the microbial community. León-Zayas believes that teaching science as an ever-changing field is crucial for the understanding of the nature of science by future generations, as they will influence the conservation of our natural resources.
A professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Lisa Levin studies the animals on the deep and shallow seafloor. Her interest in biology and marine science stems from inspirational teachers and a National Science Foundation-funded summer program for high school students at Humboldt State College. Levin received her PhD from SIO, conducted postdoctoral studies at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, taught for nine years at North Carolina State University, and returned to SIO as a faculty member in 1992. Much of Levin’s deep-sea research focuses on the structure and function of continental margin ecosystems of the Pacific and Indian oceans, including habitats such as methane seeps and oxygen minimum zones. At sea she is leading a graduate course on Chile margin reducing environments, conducting research on benthic communities, coordinating outreach activities, communing with her graduate students, and providing a link to the Census of Marine Life Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE) and Chemosynthetic Ecosystem Science (ChEss) programs. Levin has sailed twice previously on the Chilean research vessel Vidal Gormaz, and has worked for many years to facilitate exploration of the Chile margin. Back at Scripps, she also investigates aspects of populations connectivity, ocean acidification and deoxygenation, and wetland ecology and restoration.
Marv Lilley received his PhD from Oregon State University and joined the University of Washington in 1984. His research interests include the study of volatiles in hydrothermal systems, with particular interest in the temporal variability in hydrothermal fluid chemistry resulting from seismic activity and phase separation. Another research focus of Lilley's is the development of instruments for in-situ chemical measurements in hydrothermal fluids. He has participated in numerous cruises involving submersibles and remotely operated vehicles to study hydrothermal systems; these span the period from the discovery cruise to the Galapagos in 1977 to the recent discovery of an ongoing eruption in the Lau Basin. Lilley's goals for the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 cruise are to find sites of hydrothermal venting that scientists can dive on during later cruises, and to help the students study the cold seep sites.
Benjamin Maurer is a fourth year PhD student at the applied ocean sciences program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). His research interests are developing parametric models of buoyancy-driven fluid flow, specifically intrusive gravity currents in stratified fluids. On the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 20101 cruise, Maurer will be working to acquire tracer and density measurements as well as images of density-driven horizontal flow in the water column above seeps and vents. In addition to developing models of the mixing and transportation, he will serve as an engineer for the multiple corer imaging system and other oceanographic instrumentation. He has over 200 days at sea with NOAA, Department of Fish and Game, or SIO, and has worked on a wide variety of undersea equipment, including conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) samplers, remotely operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, and various custom instrument platforms.
Mauricio Mella is a researcher with the Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria (SERNAGEOMIN), based in Puerto Varas. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in geology from the University of Chile – Santiago and a doctorate in igneous geochemistry from the University of São Paulo, Brasil. Mella’s scientific interests include igneous petrology and volcanology, with an emphasis on Andean settings. His principle field areas are in southern Chile between 36 and 46 degrees south. Methods of interest include 40Ar/39Ar, whole rock geochemistry, and field mapping. He has participated in Latin American and world geological conferences with presentations on Andean topics.
Stephanie Mendes is a first year PhD student in the Earth science department at University of California – Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on the biological controls on hydrocarbon consumption associated with marine seeps. Understanding the different geochemical environments that control microbial methane oxidation is very important in identifying the ocean’s potential as a methane sink. During the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 expedition she will be collecting sediment cores for methane concentration and methane oxidation rates. Data collected will be compared with data from oily and methane-dominated seep systems off the coast of California. The data collected will contribute to the understanding of anaerobic methane oxidation and the geochemical parameters that influence biological activity.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Alexis Pasulka is a third year PhD student in biological oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research interests are microbial food web dynamics and, in particular, the role of protist grazers in nutrient regeneration and biogeochemical cycling. On the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 20101 cruise she will be looking at the role of heterotrophic protists in methane-seep food webs. In addition to characterizing the diversity of heterotrophic protists in these ecosystems, she will explore the incorporation of methane-derived carbon into heterotrophic protists using stable isotope analysis.
Eduardo Quiroga is a researcher at the Center for Advanced Research on Patagonian Ecosystems (CIEP), University Austral of Chile, Coyhaique. He has a degree in marine science from the University of Arturo Prat, in Chile, and received a PhD in oceanography in 2005 from the University of Concepcion, also in Chile. His scientific interests include the biodiversity and function of deep-sea ecosystems and the ecology of benthic communities on oceanic basin and continental margins, including cold seeps. He specializes in the taxonomy of free-living benthic and endosymbiotic polychaetes. Quiroga has 10 years of experience conducting research in the field of benthic ecology, with a special focus on benthic responses to environmental disturbance and community ecology. He has participated in two international expeditions with a multidisciplinary approach (LAMPOS Antarctic Expedition and the Expedition on the Chilean continental margin aboard the research vessel Sonne) and in five national cruises. He also has experience conducting field work over four years in the fjord and channels of the Chilean Patagonia. Quiroga has described the first nautiniellid (symbiotic) polychaetes in Pacific seep bivalves.
Danny Richter is a fifth year PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research interests focus on the interaction between trace metals and diatoms, especially what metals are incorporated into diatom shells (called frustules). The potential implications of his research fuel his interest and they include: better understanding the biogeochemical cycling of these metals (many of which are essential for life but can also be lethal contaminants) and the possibility that frustule-bound metals in ocean sediments might be used to reconstruct oceanic nutrient distributions in the geologic past. Richter's work on the cruise will be a real-world test for the lab work of his PhD thesis. He will compare lab and real-world metal data from frustules and water to see if they tell the same story. This trip to Chile will be the seventh and final continent that Richter has visited in the name of science. He is also passionate about fixing climate change, and has had 22 meetings with members of congress or their staff to do just that.
Francisco Valdés Robledo is a marine biologist from the Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile. Currently, he participates in the Census of Marine Life Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE) project. His scientific areas of interest are biodiversity, biogeography, and evolutionary history of chemosynthetic ecosystems; and the taxonomy of deep benthic fauna, mainly endosymbiotic clams belonging to the Vesicomyidae family. Robledo has studied the evolutionary history of vesicomyid clams from the Concepción methane seep zone.
Fernando Rojas is a researcher in the marine science department of the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) in Coquimbo, Chile. He obtained a marine biology degree from UCN in 2009. RojaS participates in the Census of Marine Life Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE-ED3P) project, whose objective is to catalog the benthic fauna situated on the upper slope of the Chilean continental margin. In addition, he serves as a technician for Oceana, analyzing benthic images captured by remotely operated vehicles. His areas of interest include benthic faunal ecology of the Chilean continental slope, specifically the association of chemo-physical factors in particular zones to the distribution of benthic organisms. He hopes to increase taxonomic investigations of fauna on the Chile margin.
Ives Sanchez has a degree in chemistry from the Universidad de la Serena. He has expertise in chemical analysis for mining, soil, and food. He has adapted to a variety of working conditions and equipment, and is a great team worker with excellent interrelationship skills. He presently works as a laboratory chemist in the chemical oceanography research laboratory at Universidad Católica Del Norte.
Javier Sellanes is an associate professor in the marine biology department at the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), Coquimbo, and an associate researcher at the Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica FONDAP-COPAS. He serves as the deputy director of the doctorate program, Biología y Ecología Aplicada, Consorcio UCN-ULS, Coquimbo. Dr. Sellanes received an undergraduate degree in science, with mention in hydrobiology in 1995 from the Universidad de la República, Faculty of Sciences in Montevideo, Uruguay, and his doctorate in oceanography in 2002 from the University of Concepción, Chile. His main lines of research include the ecology of shelf and bathyal benthic invertebrates (with emphasis on polychaetes, crustaceans and molluscs), methane seep chemosynthetic communities, energy flow through the benthos, animal-sediment relationships, the taxonomy of molluscs, and sediment biogeochemistry. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Census of Marine Life Continental Margin Ecosystems on a Global Scale (COMARGE ) Steering Committee. For the past few years Dr. Sellanes has led the effort to discover, explore, and describe the biota from Chile’s methane seeps.
Nicolás Segovia Cortes is marine biologist and licensed in marine sciences in the Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile. In his incipient academic career (less than a year), Cortes has participated in two grants as a research assistant with Dr. Pilar A. Haye and Dr. Sylvain Faugeron, both scientists dedicated primarily to molecular ecology and biogeography. Cortes' main goal is the development and utilization of molecular DNA markers to address issues like ecology, phylogeography (geographical distribution of molecular diversity), and phylogenetics. He has worked mainly on algae and benthic crustaceans. The main goal of his research is to contribute to basic knowledge with conservation purposes. In this expedition, his objective is to perform population sampling in the three stations for two or three recurrent species in reducing environments to evaluate parameters — such as genetic diversity, population connectivity, genetic differentiation, etc. Moreover, he expects to get DNA samples of most collected species on the cruise to perform phylogenetic and taxonomic analyses.
Tim Shank earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, he worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and then went on to receive a doctorate in ecology and evolution from Rutgers University, where he examined the evolution of deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities and the genetic relationships of vent fauna and their adaptations to thrive in extreme chemosynthetic environments. His research interests focus on understanding the evolution of life in the deep sea and the ecological processes responsible for creating and maintaining biodiversity in the oceans. Shank combines molecular genetic approaches and ecological field studies to understand the conditions and adaptations that allow various species to migrate, evolve, and thrive along the global mid-ocean ridge and seamount systems. He has conducted more than 35 scientific expeditions to deep-sea hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps, and continental slopes. He uses submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and autonomous underwater vehicle; and he recently tested a full-ocean depth hybrid ROV capable of diving to the deepest regions of the oceans.
Jordan Stanway is an applied ocean science and engineering graduate student in the deep submergence laboratory. He will be working with the autonomous benthic explorer (ABE) to collect navigation data from the vehicle while it searches for vents and maps the seafloor. Underwater vehicle navigation remains a difficult problem because signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS) do not penetrate the sea surface. ABE must instead rely on information from an internal compass and a Doppler velocity log (DVL) for dead reckoning, and occasional updates from an acoustic tracking system to keep the errors bounded. Stanway is working on sensor fusion techniques that promise to make the navigation estimate more robust and precise, especially when ABE is too high for the DVL to see the seafloor. (It is almost as important to know where ABE is when it collects scientific data as it is to collect the data in the first place.)
Christina Tanner is a third year PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. On this cruise she aims to identify whether there are vesicomyid and solemyid bivalve species that inhabit both vent and seep sediments, characterize reproductive traits of the recovered adult bivalves, and use geochemical signatures in the shells of post-settlement juveniles to identify in which of the distinct, stratified water masses that occur over the Chile margin the larval stage develops. This work off Chile will provide insight into larval biology and dispersal pathways of deep-sea bivalves associated with seeps and vents. In order to do this, Tanner will rely on bottom trawls and the multicorer for the collection of adult and juvenile bivalve specimens, and conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) and rosette water sampling to characterize overlying water masses.
Andrew Thurber is a fifth year PhD student in the biological oceanography program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research focuses on the interaction of animals (mostly worms), Bacteria and Archaea, and chemical cycling within mud at deep-sea methane seeps. In these systems, microorganisms consume greenhouse gases and harness chemical energy to exist with no direct input of energy from the sun. These microorganisms, in turn, provide a food source for many animals which are adapted to survive in these harsh environments. Thurber examines which of these chemical processes, as mediated by microbial metabolisms, both fuel and are impacted by the predation/ consumption by the animals which live there. On the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 20101 expedition, Thurber will serve as chief scientist; he will be examining which chemical reactions feed the animals present, if that changes at each of the sites he visits, and what are the ramifications of this varying food source for deep-sea biodiversity.
Dana Yoerger is a senior scientist in applied ocean physics and Engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He obtained BS, MS, and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include robotics, applying principles of automation to remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles to add capability and ease of use. He has designed several vehicles, including the Medea/Jason remotely operated vehicle system and the autonomous benthic explorer, ABE, with a focus on precise control, navigation, and positioning; and deep-sea observatories. He will be overseeing use of ABE to search for vents and seeps on the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 expedition.