Explorers

 

 

Peter Etnoyer, Ph.D. Peter Etnoyer, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist
Marine Biologist
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Dr. Peter Etnoyer is the chief scientist for Leg 1 of the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) expedition aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. He has been studying Gulf of Mexico deep-sea corals since 2003. Peter is a marine biologist and lead researcher for NOAA's deep-sea coral ecology laboratory at the National Centers of Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston. Peter graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2009 and Duke University in 2001. His lab conducts deepwater benthic surveys to support habitat conservation and marine management in state and federal waters around the continental United States.

 


Daniel Wagner, Ph.D. Daniel Wagner, Ph.D.
Expedition Coordinator
Research Coordinator
NOAA Southeast Deep Coral Initiative/JHT Inc.

Dr. Daniel Wagner is serving as the expedition coordinator and works as the research coordinator for the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) at JHT Inc./NOAA National Centers of Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). Daniel has conducted research on deep-sea corals since 2006 and has participated in over 25 expeditions that have surveyed deepwater ecosystems throughout the Pacific Islands, Galapagos, Caribbean, Antarctica, the Chagos Archipelago, and the Gulf of Mexico. His research interests include the taxonomy, life history, and ecology of deep-sea corals, particularly black corals. Daniel received his Ph.D. and M.S. in biological oceanography from the University of Hawaii and a B.S. in Biology from Hawaii Pacific University. Daniel is originally from Ecuador, but resides in Charleston, South Carolina.

 


Sandra Brooke, Ph.D. Sandra Brooke, Ph.D.
Associate Research Faculty
Florida State University Coastal and Marine Lab

Dr. Sandra Brooke was born in Farnham, just west of London, and after completing her undergraduate and M.S. degrees in England, worked in mosquito control in the Cayman Islands, where she learned to dive and discovered marine biology. Sandra then obtained an M.A. in Marine Biology from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and a Ph. D. (2002) from the Southampton Oceanography Center, in the United Kingdom. Sandra’s research focuses on coral reefs in both shallow and deep waters, specifically understanding their distribution, abundance, and physiology, as well as how they are affected by anthropogenic (human) impacts. Her research uses underwater vehicles, benthic landers, and in situ experimentation to enhance our understanding of deep-sea coral biology, ecology, and vulnerability to disturbance. Sandra has studied reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, South Florida, the South Atlantic Bight, Mid-Atlantic canyons, the Aleutian Islands, and the Norwegian Fjords. Her role on this expedition is to assist in selecting dive sites for remotely operated vehicle surveys. Additionally, Sandra will be collecting live Lophelia pertusa specimens for studies on deep-sea coral reproduction.

 


Heather Coleman, Ph.D. Heather Coleman, Ph.D.
Coordinator
NOAA Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program

Dr. Heather Coleman coordinates the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program within the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation. In this role, she enjoys working with researchers from around the country and helping to convey results to resource managers. On this expedition, Heather is excited to communicate progress, news, and results and to assist with operations in general. Prior to joining NOAA, Heather worked at the National Academy of Sciences, synthesizing best practices for monitoring restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, and at the Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association, leading a capacity-building program on tools to facilitate marine spatial planning. Her Ph.D. research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focused on ecological and demographic effects of natural oil seeps on marine invertebrate populations. Her M.A. research covered the history, politics, social dynamics, ecological effects, costs, and benefits of estuarine restoration in Istanbul, Turkey. Heather has also researched shallow-water coral reef community dynamics, ecological effects of marine debris, oceanic biogeochemical cycling, and invasive plant ecology and has led volunteer programs to restore kelp forests and clean the beaches of her home city, Los Angeles, California.

 


Katharine Coykendall, Ph.D. Katharine Coykendall, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Leetown Science Center, United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Dr. Katharine Coykendall is a research biologist at the USGS Leetown Science Center. Throughout her childhood, growing up in Pittman Center, Tennessee, she wanted to become a marine biologist. As an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, she narrowed her focus to studying population genetics of threatened and endangered marine species. She continued this trajectory at the University of California Davis, where she received her Ph.D. in genetics. Since then, Katharine has expanded her horizons to the deep sea, where she uses genetic and genomic tools to study population connectivity, levels of biodiversity, and cryptic diversity of invertebrates in cold-water and chemosynthetic communities. On the current expedition, she will collect samples of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa to construct a transcriptome to act as a baseline for future gene expression studies, as well as samples for studies on gene flow and genetic diversity of cold-water corals and associated invertebrates.

 


Jesse Doren Jesse Doren
ROV Team Manager
Pelagic Research Services

Jesse Doren has over 20 years offshore ocean experience, including conducting and managing complex research and deck operations, as well as leading AUV and ROV projects. Jesse has served as lead and supervising marine technician, dive supervisor, and project manager for complex vessel operations, including the operation of working class and science class ROV systems with depth and operational capabilities up to 6,000 meters. During his career, Jesse has worked on a wide diversity of projects including seafloor survey projects, wreck surveys, search and recovery, oil and gas exploration, ROV system acquisition, and factory acceptance testing. As the ROV and operations manager for Pelagic Research Services, Jesse has direct oversight of the management of the operation and maintenance of the ROV Odysseus. He manages ROV staff and serves as the safety officer for all operations. He is also responsible for planning and implementing the mobilization and demobilization of the ROV system, and also serves as a senior ROV pilot, shift supervisor, and project manager while offshore.

 


Jonathan Gallant Jonathan Gallant
Hydrographic Surveyor
Pelagic Research Services

Jonathan Gallant is a Hydrographic Surveyor with Terra Remote Sensing Inc. on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. He graduated from McGill University in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies. In 2010, Jonathan completed the surveying program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and has worked as a surveyor since then. At Terra Remote Sensing Inc., he focuses on providing marine mapping and technical solutions. On this expedition, Jonathan will provide navigation and positioning for the ROV team. Jonathan is originally from Rindge in the Monadnock region of Southern New Hampshire.

 


John Gray John Gray
Geologic Oceanographer
University of South Florida

John Gray is currently the lead multibeam data processor for the Continental Shelf Characterization and Mapping Project (C-SCAMP) at the University of South Florida. He has extensive survey experience aboard various research vessels including the R/V Bellows and the R/V Weatherbird II. On this expedition, John will be processing newly collected bathymetry data and creating high-resolution bathymetry and backscatter maps, as well as other data products to support the mission. In addition to his work with C-SCAMP, John is also pursuing a Master of Science in Geological Oceanography from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. John earned an undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans in Earth and Environmental Science concentrating in coastal processes and restoration. The ocean and coast have been a big part of John's life since he was young, even becoming an ocean lifeguard through high school and college. It was not until his first science class at the University of New Orleans that he realized that his experience as an ocean lifeguard could be applied to a science degree. John lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida where he enjoys kiteboarding, surfing and serving the community on the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Advisory Board.

 


Stacey Harter Stacey Harter
Research Ecologist
NOAA National Marine Fishery Service, Panama City Laboratory

Stacey Harter is a research ecologist with the NOAA Fisheries Laboratory in Panama City, Florida. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from Florida State University in 1999, and a Master's degree in Marine Sciences from the University of South Alabama in 2002. Since working with NOAA, she has focused her research on mesophotic and deep coral ecosystems. She is the lead investigator for a project examining a network of deep-water marine protected areas (MPAs) in the U.S. South Atlantic. That project monitors changes in habitat and fish populations over time, as well as compares areas inside MPAs to those located outside them, in order to determine if they are an effective management tool. On this expedition, Stacey will help identify and quantify fish species assemblages observed during remotely operated vehicle dives. Stacey is originally from the small town of Mohawk in upstate New York.

 


Erik Hodges Erik Hodges
ROV Pilot/Technician
Pelagic Research Services

Erik Hodges has worked in the subsea industry for the past 10 years, and has been involved with many different types of projects that have taken him to explore deep-sea habitats around the world. He has worked in the subsea industry for 10 years, on many different project around the world. Assisting with work for NOAA, Erik also participated in sub-sea work following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On this expedition, Erik will serve as ROV pilot and technician and looks forward to broadening his experience into the research side of subsea operations.

 


Kris Ingram Kris Ingram
ROV Pilot
Pelagic Research Services

Kris Ingram is an ROV pilot and technician currently working out of Neptune Beach, Florida. He began his career in 2006 after studying at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and serving aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). After working primarily in the oil and gas industry, he has recently been afforded new opportunities to work in the science sector, such as on this expedition with NOAA.

 


Morgan Kilgour, Ph.D. Morgan Kilgour, Ph.D.
Fishery Biologist
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

Dr. Morgan Kilgour has been a fishery biologist at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council since 2013. She earned both a M.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her research interests include biodiversity, spatial management, marine ecology, deep-sea benthic ecology, and the reproductive biology of marine species. On this expedition, Morgan will assist in identifying decapods, as well as disseminate data to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for management considerations. Morgan grew up in a small town outside of Sacramento, California.

 


Ralf Meyer Ralf Meyer
Creative Director
Green Fire Productions

Ralf Meyer co-founded Green Fire Productions as a nonprofit organization in 1989 with the mission to use the power of film to move audiences to action, as well as to educate decision makers on pressing environmental and social issues. Over the last 30 years, Green Fire Productions has produced dozens of award-winning films on conservation and sustainability issues ranging from protection of wildlands, salmon restoration, dam removal, the ecological role of top predators, and ocean conservation. Their latest project, Ocean Frontiers, is a film series that showcases ocean stewardship in action throughout North America. On this expedition, Ralf will serve as the expedition videographer and produce a series of short videos for outreach and education.

 


Matt Poti Matt Poti
Spatial Ecologist
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Matt Poti is a spatial ecologist with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. He received a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Richmond and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University. In his seven years with NOAA, Matt has used spatial and statistical analyses and modeling of ecological data to inform a wide range of marine resource management and spatial planning priorities. Recently, he has been involved in the development of statistical models that identify areas likely to have suitable habitat for deep-sea corals in the U.S. Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Main Hawaiian Islands. On this expedition, Matt will use information from existing habitat suitability models and high-resolution bathymetric data to assist with survey planning. Matt currently resides in Frederick, Maryland.

 


Paul Sancore Paul Sancore
ROV Pilot/Technician
Pelagic Research Services

Paul Sancore is a 10-year United States Navy veteran who served honorably and with distinction, as he was repeatedly selected as the lead ROV pilot for high-visibility recovery missions while stationed at Undersea Rescue Command (formally Deep Submergence Unit). Since separating from the Navy, Paul has continued to serve on projects of national and international interest. As vessel superintendent, he aided in the recovery of those lost and trapped aboard the Japanese fishery training vessel, Ehime Maru. Paul also participated in efforts to contain the flow from the Macondo blowout (Deepwater Horizon) and helped with environmental impact studies after the flow was contained. On this expedition Paul will perform duties as pilot and technician of the ROV Odysseus for Pelagic Research Services. Paul is originally from North Bellmore on Long Island, New York.

 


Sign up for the Ocean Explorer E-mail Update List.