Mountains in the Deep: Exploring the Central Pacific Basin






Meet the On-ship Expedition Team

 


 

Dr. Scott France

Dr. Scott France

Co-science Lead
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Scott France studies the evolution of deep-sea invertebrates, in particular in deep-sea octocorals. He was attracted to a career in marine biology when, as a fine arts major at Concordia University, he took an elective course in oceanography and was captivated learning about the discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. That new knowledge drove his desire to visit and explore the deep sea himself, and he immediately switched majors to Biology. Scott earned his B.S. in Biology at Concordia University and a PhD in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He has held postdoctoral positions at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of New Hampshire, and Harvard University and taught Evolution at Bowdoin College. He was on the faculty of the College of Charleston from 1997-2003, and has been on the faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette since 2004. Over his career, he has visited the deep-ocean floor off the Mariana Islands, Hawaii, Galapagos, California, Bahamas, and the western North Atlantic.

Dr. Del Bohnenstiehl

Dr. Del Bohnenstiehl

Co-science Lead
North Carolina State University

Del Bohnenstiehl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Geospatial Analytics at North Carolina State University. Much of his research focuses on volcanic and hydrothermal systems in mid-ocean ridge and arc systems, ocean basin seismicity and marine tectonics. He also works collaboratively on issues related to the ecology of sound in the oceans, and he oversees the operation of North Carolina State University’s unmanned surface vehicle, which conducts benthic-mapping studies in estuarine environments.

Bohnenstiehl received a B.S. in Geology from Eastern Illinois University (1995), a M.S. in Geology from Vanderbilt University (1998), and PhD in Marine Geology and Geophysics from Columbia University (2002).

Bohnenstiehl has spent many months at sea over the last two decades working in the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans; however, this is his first time participating on an Okeanos Explorer expedition.

 

 

 

Fernando Aragon

Fernando Aragon

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Fernando graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. During his studies, he had experience in several fields including conceptual design, aerospace research, mechanical design, robotics and software development. From these activities he was able to intern for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, present research in a national conference, and even coauthor a technical paper in the Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. His most recent position was at the Field Robotics Laboratory (FRL) where he helped support operations, testing and software development for two unmanned surface vehicles. From his time in FRL, he discovered a true passion for development and design of robotic systems. Originally from Colombia, Fernando enjoys outdoor activities and currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania.

Neah Baechler

Neah Baechler

Hydrographer and Marine Geologist

Neah Baechler is a contract Hydrographer and Marine Geologist dedicated to exploring the depths of our planet’s most elusive ecosystem: the ocean. She began her career at the College of Charleston in South Carolina as a Benthic Acoustic Mapping and Sonar (BEAMS) program student, honing her skills in seafloor mapping. Through the BEAMS program, Neah had the opportunity to sail on multiple research expeditions with NOAA, the University of Washington, and with hydrographic firms in the private sector. These experiences jump started her love for ocean research and time spent at sea. Since earning her Bachelor of Science in 2015, Neah has dedicated herself to exploration and discovery, traveling and mapping the seafloor in far reaching locations. Her passion for research expeditions has only grown, and she plans to further her sub-surface study in a graduate program focused around temperature-driven ocean circulation and its effects on climate. Neah hopes to spread her enthusiasm for all things marine through outreach and documentary filmmaking, educating people about the widespread impacts our ocean has on our daily life.

Outside of hydrography, time well spent for Neah is hiking, camping or reading in a quiet corner of her Portland, Oregon home.

 

 

Caitlin Bailey

Caitlin Bailey

Video Producer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Caitlin Bailey holds a MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University and a B.S. in Animal Biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her background includes fieldwork with sea otters in Alaska, lab research on wild mice vocalizations, and mentoring undergraduate students in biology. In pursuit of her filmmaking career, Caitlin held a writing and film internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and worked as a camera operator and stage manager with Montana PBS. Before her current position on the Okeanos Explorer, she served as a video engineering intern onboard the E/V Nautilus. This is her first expedition onboard the Okeanos Explorer and she is looking forward to being a contributing member of the video-production team at the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration. Caitlin currently resides in San Antonio, Texas where she enjoys photography, SCUBA diving, and volunteering for TEDx events.

Amy Bowman

Amy Bowman

Web Coordinator
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Amy Bowman is the onboard web coordinator for this expedition. She works in Communications and Public Affairs for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), on contract with CollabraLink Technologies. Amy received her Master’s in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. Previous degrees include Natural Science from the University of Hawai‘i Maui College and Business Administration from Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe. She joined NOAA as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in 2015, working in NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology. Before joining NOAA, she traveled the world as an international PADI Scuba Instructor and taught diving in the Caribbean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, and the Pacific. She is also a marine naturalist and holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Merchant Mariner License.

 

 

Roland Brian

Roland Brian

Electronic Systems Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Roland Brian brings 29 years of experience and a keen eye for precision HD video to the program as a video/satellite and telepresence engineer. Roland began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he worked as a Satellite Communications Engineering Technician with visions of working on the U.S. Space Station. He traded in that quest for one of deep-ocean exploration and sharing beautiful imagery with the world. He has worked with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and the Okeanos Explorer Program since 2009 and has been engaged in every telepresence-enabled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) expedition. He has also provided services for other projects using OER's mobile telepresence system, including the 2012 Ring of Fire Expedition. His duties aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer include operation and maintenance of the ship's Telepresence and video systems, including on ROV Deep Discoverer and the Seirios camera platform. Again, Roland's experience embodies the breadth and depth of knowledge the OER program encourages. When not fine-tuning the video and telepresence systems or training and mentoring new team members, he's actively involved in the editing process of our ever-expanding ocean exploration video library. While not at sea, Roland enjoys life with his wife and family in sunny Sarasota, Florida.

Kasey Cantwell

Kasey Cantwell

Expedition Coordinator
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Kasey Cantwell is a Field Operations Specialist with NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Kasey has a Master of Science degree in Marine Affairs and Policy and Marine Geology and Gepophysics, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science and Biology, both from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Kasey is responsible for coordinating telepresence-enabled expeditions conducted onboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Since joining OER in 2012, she has coordinated over a dozen expeditions and projects, including multidisciplinary expeditions to the Atlantic submarine canyons, the Marianas, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and Glacier Bay National Park.

Beyond deep-sea exploration, Kasey’s background includes imagery-based mapping of coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, long-term ecosystem monitoring, and evaluating resource management strategies to improve efficiency and data quality.

 

Joshua Carlson

Joshua Carlson

Mechanical Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Joshua Carlson attended the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where he received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with minor in Business Administration. He went on to receive his M.S. in Marine Observation Technology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology. Josh has a diverse background, encompassing the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and other types of ocean observation platforms for the purpose of studying ocean turbulence. He has designed and built a deep-ocean camera platform for filming deep-water krill in the Antarctic Ocean and provided mechanical engineering and software capabilities on the Woods Hole Oceanographic AUV Sentry during a recent cruise aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. In his current position with NOAA’s Ocean Exploration program, Josh provides engineering, programming, and at-sea support, acting in the capacity of navigator, pilot, and co-pilot for NOAA’s 6000-meter-rated remotely operated vehicle system, Deep Discoverer. His broad range of skills in both engineering and software control development makes him an invaluable member of our team. When not traveling, Josh resides in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Kevin Jerram

Kevin Jerram

Research Scientist
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire

Kevin Jerram is a Research Scientist with the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). His first experience aboard the Okeanos Explorer was an expedition to acoustically detect and characterize methane seeps in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011, forming the basis for his M.S. thesis in Ocean Engineering at UNH. Kevin has since been involved in 20+ seafloor and midwater mapping expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans aboard a variety of U.S. and international vessels. With the National Science Foundation-funded Multibeam Advisory Committee, he supports echosounder system integrations and independent evaluations to enhance multibeam data quality across the U.S. academic fleet.

Kevin was initially drawn to ocean mapping because it blends engineering with exploration. He greatly enjoys supporting the ROV team’s amazing work by producing up-to-date, high-resolution bathymetric surfaces for the pilots and scientists to use during their dives. When back on land, Kevin can be found hiking with his wife and foster dog(s) in the mountains of Vermont and working on their good old sailboat.

 

 

Sean Kennison

Sean Kennison

Electrical Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Sean Kennison holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Engineering Mechanics from Pennsylvania State University. He first sailed on the Okeanos Explorer as an intern and member of the Engineering Group, where he performed tasks associated with the launch, operation, and recovery of the ROV system. He has also worked shoreside, designing mechanical parts for the ROVs and assisting with assembly and testing of previously and newly installed equipment. Sean also assisted with installing electronics, testing, data analysis, and troubleshooting on the vehicle. Most recently, he assisted in assembling and modifying a new bio storage box for the Deep Discoverer ROV. While at Penn State, Sean served as team leader on a number of engineering design projects.

Bob Knott

Bob Knott

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Bob has almost 50 years’ experience in broadcast engineering. Following a 37-year career with RIPBS, departing in 2006 as Chief Engineer, he worked for the Sea Research Foundation and Ocean Exploration Trust as the Senior Broadcast Engineer. He was responsible for the design, commissioning, and maintenance of the Inner Space Center located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. He also worked on many research vessels and supported telepresence operations from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, E/V Nautilus, R/V Endeavor, and R/V Atlantis, plus many other UNOLS ships.

Bob is married and has six adult children, nine grandchildren, and a great-grandson. He and his wife Donna play French horn and are active in many community music ensembles in Rhode Island.

 

Jeff Laning

Jeff Laning

Electrical Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Jeff Laning holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont. He started his career as an intern with Greensea Systems, Inc., where he worked on design, development, and integration of components and software associated with remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicle systems.

Jeff is one of our youngest members and came to our group with a desire to learn new and complex electrical systems. Electrical engineers interested in and capable of working on deep submergence systems are one of the hardest positions to fill. Jeff has done a great job as a key member of the team that built Deep Discoverer and has become a skilled pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. His contribution to ocean exploration is certainly something to be proud of and we hope that other young engineers will be inspired by what he has accomplished. Jeff currently resides in Vermont.

Don Liberatore

Don Liberatore

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Don Liberatore has more than 35 years of experience in manned and unmanned submersible operations as a diver-medic, mixed gas lock-out diver and hyperbaric chamber operator and Chief Submersible Pilot for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution’s Johnson-Sea-Link I & II research submersibles. He has logged nearly 1,800 dives as a pilot, hundreds more as a pilot-trainer, and over 200 as a mixed gas lock-out diver to 350 feet.

In addition to science missions, he has participated in recovery operations as Submersible Operations Coordinator. These include the search and recovery of the Space Shuttle Challenger, excavation and documentation of the U.S.S. Monitor, documentation of the wreck of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, and the search for the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane in the central Pacific Ocean using two REMUS 6,000 meters autonomous underwater vehicles.

He has worked as crew member and/or project manager for the Kraken (UCONN), Mohawk (UNCW) and Global Explorer (DSSI/Oceaneering Int.) ROVs. He is participating in this expedition as a member of the Deep Discoverer crew.

 

 

Andy Lister

Andy Lister

Mechanical Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Andy earned a Bachelor's in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M. He then obtained a Master's in Mechanical Engineering focusing on Robotic Artificial Intelligence and Systems Engineering from Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach. After college, he lent his knowledge to the oilfield service industry for four years, living in various places including Wyoming, North Dakota, and Alaska while on assignment. Recently, he has come back to the mechanical and software side of engineering to contribute to the team at the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration. He loves traveling, exploring, and being outdoors.

Bobby Mohr

Bobby Mohr

Systems/Robotics Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Bobby Mohr is a Systems/Robotics Engineer, specializing in autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles. He holds a B.S. in physics and graduated cum laude from Davidson College in 2009. Bobby started his career as an engineering technician with Greensea Systems where he was responsible for the design, development, and testing of autonomous underwater vehicle control systems. Like many of our engineers, Bobby realized that he would enjoy the design-build process more if he was able to also pursue the challenges of making vehicles work successfully at sea.

After serving on several projects at Greensea where he specialized in electrical and software systems support, Bobby joined the Ocean Exploration program as an electrical systems engineer. During his time at Greensea and now with NOAA, he has been one of the key electrical engineers on the development of our 6000-meter-rated remotely operated vehicle system, Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Like many of our engineers, he has multiple skills and is a tremendous asset to our program.

 

 

Emily Narrow

Emily Narrow

Video Producer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Emily Narrow is a video producer and editor whose work focuses on science and nature. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College where she double-majored in Biology and Cinema Studies. She also holds an MFA degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University. She was a video producer for a production company in Washington, DC, for three years, where she made public service announcements, ad campaigns, and promotional videos for non-profit and environmental organizations. For the past six years, she has been a freelance video producer, creating videos for clients such as the National Park Service, NOAA, and Montana State University. Most recently, she produced and edited a series of educational videos about camping and hunting for Zero Point Zero Productions. This is her first expedition onboard the Okeanos Explorer with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration, and she can't wait to see what amazing discoveries the Okeanos Explorer will reveal. Emily currently resides in Bozeman, Montana.

Amanda Netburn

Amanda Netburn

CIOERT at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute/NOAA Office Ocean Exploration and Research

Dr. Amanda N. Netburn received a PhD in Oceanography and a Masters in Marine Conservation and Biodiversity from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For her dissertation research, she studied the effects of deep hypoxic waters on the physiology and distributions of mesopelagic fishes off of southern California. In the past, Amanda has researched sustainable seafood at a non-governmental organization, taught SCUBA, captained small boats, and worked in aquaculture. She has sailed on a dozen oceanographic cruises. In the past year alone, Amanda has sailed on the R/V Atlantis with the human occupied vehicle Alvin and autonomous vehicle Sentry, the R/V Sally Ride with remotely operated vehicle Jason, and had the unusual experience of leading midwater ROV transects on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer through telepresence while onboard another vessel, the E/V Nautilus. Amanda currently holds a joint position with CIOERT at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and NOAA Office Ocean Exploration and Research, where she leads the effort to develop water column priorities and sampling protocols within the exploration context, work she began as a 2016 Knauss Fellow in Marine Policy at OER.

 

 

Chris Ritter

Chris Ritter

Ocean Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Chris first joined our group on the Cayman Rise Expedition in 2011, just prior to being hired full time by NAVSEA. Since then, an informal NAVSEA-NOAA relationship has allowed Chris to continue to participate in our design, engineering, and offshore operations. Chris holds a B.S. in Ocean Engineering and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech with a minor in mathematics. He is currently working on his M.S. in Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech and expects to complete that program in 2015. Chris has been a major contributor to our design-build process and a tremendous asset to our offshore operations. He is a skilled navigator, pilot, and co-pilot of our vehicles and brings with him a level of enthusiasm that everyone around him appreciates and respects. The Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is very lucky to have his participation and we applaud NAVSEA for their insight, training, and willingness to share great talent. Chris resides in Arlington, Virginia.

Dan Rodgers

Dan Rogers

ROV Engineer and Telepresence Team Member
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Daniel Rogers brings with him a diverse background in engineering, media production, and education. Daniel holds a B.S. in physics and received an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Hawaii in 2013. His graduate work focused on the development and evaluation of an autonomous marine vessel designed for port and harbor security missions. Before starting his graduate program, Daniel worked as a science educator at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu where he continued as a digital media producer while in school. A lifelong interest in the sciences inspires him to learn all he can about the natural world and he is passionate about sharing the drama, allure, and wonder of scientific inquiry with others. Daniel currently works as a media producer and autonomous systems engineer in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

Levi Unema

Levi Unema

ROV Engineer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Levi Unema is an Eagle Scout from Lynden, Washington. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering along with a Certificate in Electric Power Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Levi has experience in a number of different industries, ranging from the railroad, to steel mills, to automotive supplier light manufacturing.

Currently living in west Michigan, he enjoys being outdoors and staying active.

Annie White

Annie White

Video Producer
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Annie White is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, photographer, and biologist who specializes in conservation biology and animal behavior. She holds a B.A. in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado and is currently finishing an MFA degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking at Montana State University.

Her career has taken her from collecting limestone samples and fossils in Wyoming, to studying wild wolf behavior, to filming cougars and grizzly bears. The years she spent living and traveling with captive ambassador wolves kick-started her interest in science education and inspired her to reach out to larger audiences through film.

Her credits include projects for National Geographic WILD, Curiosity Stream, the Yellowstone Wolf Project, and various other non-profit groups. Now the writer and producer for VisionHawk Films, Annie spends her time developing broadcast TV series about wildlife.

 

 

Michael White

Michael White

Mapping Lead
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

A native of Long Island, New York, Mike took a deep interest in ocean science at a young, age growing up in and on the water. After graduating from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in geological sciences, Mike continued his education at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, he worked on several projects, including acoustic mapping of coastal areas, coastal sediment management, remote sea level monitoring, submarine groundwater discharge, and applying his GIS proficiencies. Mike’s M.S. thesis focused on the processing of multibeam backscatter and its relationship to the physical characteristics of the seafloor. After completing a graduate certificate in geospatial science and earning a reputation as a reliable field scientist, Mike started a new position as a hydrographic analyst with NOAA’s Sandy Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping team at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM) at UNH. At CCOM Mike processed outside to NOAA hydrographic datasets, examined additional applications for topobathymetric lidar, collaborated on a seafloor imaging device, and served as a physical scientist supporting hydrographic surveys. As the newest member of the Okeanos Mapping Team, Mike is truly excited to support their mission exploring the oceans. During his off hours, Mike can be found cooking, hiking, or watching movies.

 

 

 

 

(top)

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