Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: NE Lau Basin Explorers


Richard ArculusRichard Arculus
Igneous Petrologist
Australian National University

Richard Arculus is an igneous petrologist, working at the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University. He has spent more than 40 years working on the magmatism generated at zones of tectonic plate convergence, commencing with doctoral studies in the Lesser Antilles. He is actively involved with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and its successor program, and has led or participated in numerous research voyages to the submarine volcanoes of the southwestern Pacific over the past decade.

Ed BakerEd Baker
Supervisory Oceanographer
NOAA Vents Program, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle WA

Ed Baker is a supervisory oceanographer specializing in studies of active sea-floor hydrothermal systems and their effect on the deep ocean. Dr. Baker was educated at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Washington, where he is an affiliate professor in the School of Oceanography. He has participated in over 70 research cruises on vessels from three countries along oceanic ridges and island arcs throughout the Pacific Ocean. He has served as chief scientist on 20 of those cruises. Dr. Baker's research focuses on the creation and thermal evolution of vent fields created by sea-floor eruptions, and the global pattern of vent field distribution along ridges and island arcs. Most recently he has been on several cruises to the western Pacific, participating in the first systematic exploration for hydrothermal sites on submarine volcanoes of both the Kermadec-Tonga and Mariana intraoceanic arcs. He was elected an AGU Fellow in 2012.

Andra BobbittAndra Bobbitt
Sr. Research Assistant
Oregon State University, Newport OR

Andra Bobbitt has participated in over 40 research expeditions in 30 years of working with marine geologists. Her work has involved processing acoustic navigation for camera systems/submarines/ROVs, collection and synthesis of multibeam bathymetry data, establishing an oceanographic geographic information system (GIS) for the NOAA Vents Program and serving as the Webmaster for the Vents Program. She graduated in 1984 from the University of California at San Diego, where she then began working at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 1991, she moved to Oregon to work for the NOAA Vents Program as part of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies at Oregon State University.

Roland BrianRoland Brian
AV & TV Production and Satellite Engineer
Sarasota County Government, FL

Roland Brian’s career began more than 27 years ago in the US Air Force where he worked as a Satellite Communications Operator/Maintenance Engineering Technician. After completing his enlistment he moved into the private sector and became a professional audio/video and television production and satellite engineer where he has worked for multiple television stations as a freelance broadcast engineer doing mobile production for events including: concerts, stage events, remote broadcasts, political rallies, and sporting events. His clients included NOAA OER, CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ESPN and Fox Sports.  Roland worked for the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY as an engineering project manager where he oversaw the design, installation and integration of the Institute's advanced classroom, auditorium, and presentation spaces as well as their television production studio.

Since the initial test dives Roland has been contracted repeatedly by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research as a primary video, satellite and telepresence engineer aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. His duties aboard the Okeanos include the operation and maintenance of the vessel's unique Audio-Video and Telepresence system and the operation of the HD cameras on the vessel's dual-body ROV system as well as the ship’s portable and robotic HD cameras and production equipment. While not at sea Roland enjoys life with his wife in sunny Sarasota Florida and works as the chief broadcast engineer and AV project manager for the Sarasota County Government in Sarasota, Florida.

Nathaniel BuckNathaniel Buck
Research Technician
JISAO, University of Washington, Seattle WA

Nathan Buck received a bachelor's of science degree in marine science from Long Island University, Southampton College, in December 1999. He continued his education at Stony Brook University, where he received a master's degree in the environmental and coastal sciences. Since then, he has worked as an oceanographic research technician. During this cruise, his main responsibility will be to collect samples for trace metals and dissolved inorganic carbon measurements from hydrothermal plumes.

David A. ButterfieldDavid A. Butterfield
Chemical Oceanographer
JISAO, University of Washington, Seattle WA

Dave Butterfield's primary scientific interest is in using the composition of hydrothermal fluids to learn about subseafloor processes, ranging from volcanic eruptions to microbiological productivity.  Butterfield and his associates will analyze collected hydrothermal vent water samples for major, minor, and trace elements, isotopic composition of H2O, S, Sr, and Pb; and they will also provide material for DNA analysis and microbial culture experiments. Along with many colleagues, Butterfield tries to put the composition of fluids from diverse geological settings into a regional and global context, in an effort to understand the impact of hydrothermal systems on ocean chemistry and ecosystems.

Fabio Caratori Tontini
Marine Geophysicist
GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Fabio Caratori Tontini is a marine geophysicist at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science). He received a Ph.D. in physics from University of Pisa (Italy) in 2003 and came to GNS Science in 2009 after 6 years as research scientist at INGV (Italy). His research is focused on the geophysical expression of submarine hydrothermal systems. During this cruise, his main responsibility will be to collect surface gravity and magnetic data.

Bill ChadwickBill Chadwick
Oregon State University, Newport OR

Bill Chadwick studies volcanoes, both on land and underwater. He studies what triggers eruptions, how lava is emplaced underwater, and what impacts submarine eruptions have on the ocean environment. During the 2012 Submarine Ring of Fire expedition he will be investigating the submarine volcanoes in the NE Lau Basin.

Peter CrowhurstPeter Crowhurst
Principal Geologist
Nautilus Minerals, Australia

Peter Crowhurst is a Principal Geologist at Nautilus Minerals and leads the Generative Team who are responsible for planning and executing exploration campaigns to discover occurrences of sulphide mineralisation on the seafloor. Peter has worked at Nautilus for 5 ½ years and has been involved in 14 offshore exploration/ research cruises mainly within the SW Pacific arena with exposure to a multitude of oceanographic survey techniques including multibeam mapping, CTD tow yo, gravity coring, dredging, ROV, AUV, and seafloor drilling programs. Highlights have been multiple discoveries of new sulphide systems within the Bismarck Sea in PNG and the NE Lau Basin, Tonga. Peter also has experience as a lecturer of geology at La Trobe University, Research Scientist at CSIRO and as an exploration geologist for the terrestrial mineral and petroleum industry. He gained a Ph.D. at La Trobe University in 1999 which focussed on the tectonothermal history of northern Papua New Guinea.

Rick DavisRick Davis
Graduate Student
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland OR

Rick is a graduate student in Brad Tebo's lab studying the microbial ecology of iron- and manganese-oxidizing communities at hydrothermal vents. During this cruise, Rick will be sampling microbial mats to determine the diversity and composition of these metal-cycling communities. He will then use environmental genomic sequencing to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms of microbial iron and manganese oxidation at circumneutral pH.

Bob EmbleyBob Embley
Co-Chief Scientist

NOAA Vents Program, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Newport OR

Bob received a Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from Lamont-Doherty Geological Earth Observatory (Columbia University) in 1975 and started working for NOAA in 1979.  He has been with the NOAA VENTS program at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory since 1984, concentrating on studies of active volcanism and hydrothermal activity.  He served as Chief Scientist on the previous Submarine Ring of Fire expeditions to the Mariana and Tonga-Kermadec regions to explore submarine volcanism in these frontier regions. Recently, he said, “I’ve been on about 70 expeditions during my 45 year career in Oceanography and on every one I’ve learned something new and interesting about the ocean floor – I feel so very fortunate to have been able to follow this path for so long”.

Paula KeenerPaula Keener
Director of Education
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration & Research

Paula Keener is Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Ocean Exploration’s Education Program. A marine biologist, she has conducted extensive larval and adult fish research off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. and was a research team member in the Smithsonian Institution’s Western Atlantic Mangrove Program off Belize, Central America. She now works closely with scientists and educators to reach educators and the public through NOAA ocean exploration expeditions to enhance ocean sciences literacy. Keener served as a member of The President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration and as a member of the National Academies Committee on Exploration of the Seas.

She serves on the National Science Foundation’s National Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) Advisory Council and works closely with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall. She is a member of the NOAA Education Council, the National Marine Educators Editorial Board and the Marine Technology Society  Scholarship Committee. She is a Past-President of the National Marine Educators Association and a founding member and Past-President of the South Carolina Marine Educators’ Association. She serves as a writer and editor for scientific papers and a variety of other publications. Keener has spent over 280 days at sea studying the ocean and its inhabitants.

John LuptonJohn Lupton
NOAA Vents Program, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Newport OR

Dr. John Lupton received an A.B. in physics from Princeton University, and then went on to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. His doctoral project at Caltech involved space physics research, namely analyzing cosmic ray data from an earth orbiting satellite. After graduating from Caltech, he then made a career change from physics to oceanography, joining a research group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, where he set up a laboratory to analyze helium isotopes and rare gases in terrestrial samples.  Since then Dr. Lupton has been moving northward, spending about 10 years at U.C. Santa Barbara, and now holding the position of Oceanographer with PMEL in Newport, OR. Over the course of his career he has made more than 20 submersible dives, including dives in Alvin, Pisces, and Shinkai 6500.  His current research interests include defining ocean circulation patterns using helium isotpes, studying volcanic and geothermal gases, using rare gas patterns in volcanic rocks to define mixing and flow in the Earth’s mantle, and developing specialized equipment for sampling submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal systems.

Anabel MartinezAnabel Martinez
Undergraduate Student
King's College
, London

Anabel Martinez is currently studying for her B.Sc. in Molecular Genetics at King’s College London. She came to Tim Shank's Lab at Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution in July 2012 to gain experience using the techniques and machines necessary for DNA extraction and purification. During this cruise she will be involved in image analysis of images collected from previous Lau Basin SROF cruises, collecting biology samples to determine population genetics, and helping with CTD casts and water-filtering.

Susan G. MerleSusan G. Merle
Sr. Research Assistant
Oregon State University, Newport OR

Susan Merle is a senior research assistant at Oregon State University at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, working with the NOAA Vents Program. She graduated in 1993 from the University of Washington with a B.S. in oceanography, emphasizing marine geology and geophysics. In 2012 she received a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Science from Oregon State University. Merle specializes in sea-floor data acquisition, processing, and analysis, as well as two- three- and four-dimensional rendering of ocean features and their geological interpretation. Susan is also coordinating the SRoF’12 website before the expedition. While at sea Susan will be working with the ROV Quest team and scientists to document ROV events, and decipher ROV navigation. She will also conduct bathymetric surveys and provide overall data management for the expedition.

Eric J. OlsenEric J. Olson
University of Washington, School of Oceanography

Eric Olson has been an Oceanographer at the University of Washington for almost 27 years. He holds a technical position working with Dr. Marv Lilley on a number of chemical and biological oceanographic projects. Their focus of the last 22 years has been the study of dissolved gases in hydrothermal vents. They have been involved in both exploratory work to discover vent systems and collected samples from high temperature hydrothermal vent systems from all over the world. They have used specialized "gastight" titanium samplers on Alvin (HOV), Jason, ROPOS and Tiburon (ROVs), and now Quest, to collect samples from the North and South Pacific, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Indian Ocean. With this cruise, Eric hopes to obtain samples from the Lau Basin vent site (collected by John Lupton), which he anticipates to be very different in chemistry. Additionally, he will do ship-board analysis of hydrogen and methane in samples collected in “plume surveys” done with the CTD package as the team examines seafloor activity over a broader/regional scale.

Volker RatmeyerVolker Ratmeyer
QUEST ROV Team leader, ROV pilot
MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany

Volker Ratmeyer has studied Geology and holds a Ph.D. in Marine Geology since 1996. His work included scientific projects in the field of deep sea particle fluxes and marine snow with various methods, ranging from deepsea moorings over acoustic image transmission to ROV based sampling. Since 2003, he is coordinating the QUEST 4000m ROV system and it's scientific operations at MARUM, University of Bremen.

Joe ResingJoe Resing
Chief Scientist
JISAO University of Washington, Seattle WA

Joe Resing studied chemistry at DePaul University and earned his MS and Ph.D. in chemical oceanography at the University of Hawaii. He now explores new hydrothermal systems using the chemistry of hydrothermal plumes. Resing is interested in new eruptions and the effect that these eruptions have on the ocean. The chemistry can tell you a lot about what is happening on the seafloor. He looks at the composition of particles, the amount of acid, the amount of carbon dioxide, and the concentrations of iron and manganese.

Simon RichardsSimon Richards
Senior Geologist
Nautilus Minerals, Brisbane, Australia

Simon Richards is a structural geologist who specialises in studying the link between mineral deposit formation and plate tectonic processes. Simon graduated from the University of Newcastle where he completed a Ph.D. on the tectonic and metallogenic evolution of SE Australia. Simon developed new techniques and methods for mapping the structural geology, geometry and temporal evolution of subducting plates. Over the past five years, Simon has focussed on unravelling the tectono-magmatic evolution of the SW Pacific with a particular focus on understanding the processes leading to the concentration of metals in the upper crust. Simon’s particular interest is in structural geology and tectonics but he has experience in geophysics, granite petrology and geochemistry and metamorphic geology of metamorphic terrains. Simon now works with Nautilus Minerals exploring the distribution of SMS and the tectonic controls on SMS formation around the world.

Ken RubinKen Rubin
Professor of Geochemistry and Volcanology
Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, SOEST, University of Hawaii

Ken Rubin studies the timing and style of eruptive and pre-eruptive magmatic processes at submarine and subaerial volcanoes. He and his research group develop detailed spatio-temporal eruption histories to learn about melting and magma evolution in the Earth's mantle and crust, and the impacts of volcanism on marine hydrothermal activity and ecosystems. He received his masters in Oceanography (1985) and his Ph.D. (1991) in Earth Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has participated in 10 submarine volcanic event detection and response efforts, plus numerous other volcano-related research expeditions to active volcanoes on land and at sea, including four with the NOAA vents group to the NE Lau basin since 2009. He has led or participated in several group efforts to communicate about the Earth and environmental science to the public.

Tim ShankTim Shank
Associate Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA

Tim Shank studies the evolution of life in the deep sea and the ecological processes responsible for creating and maintaining biodiversity in the oceans. An associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), much of his work has focused on hydrothermal vent communities and the genetic relationships of vent fauna and their adaptations to thrive in extreme chemosynthetic environments.  He received his undergraduate degree in Biology and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked two years with award-winning papers in genetic toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency, and received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University. Over the past 10 years, he has participated in more than 50 scientific expeditions to deep-sea hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps, continental slopes, and seamounts in the Arctic Ocean, Eastern Pacific, Northern Atlantic, Sea of Cortez, Northeast Pacific, Galápagos Rift, Southeast Pacific, and Central Indian Ocean, discovering more than 16 vent fields and seamounts around the world. On this cruise, Tim’s research will focus on the diversity of macro and megafauna inhabiting seamount and back-arc vent systems to understand patterns of community structure associated with recent volcanic eruptions and the population connectivity among these potentially isolating habitats.

Bradley M. TeboBradley M. Tebo
Co-Chief Scientist
Marine Microbiologist
OGI Distinguished Professor of Marine and Biomolecular Systems
Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland OR

Brad Tebo received his Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego and is a Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology. His research interests are in marine microbiology and geomicrobiology and include both field and laboratory investigations of metal-microbe interactions, including the molecular biology, physiology and biochemistry of bacteria that catalyze metal transformations, the biogeochemical cycling of metals in the environment, bioremediation, and biomineralization. The primary focus of his research is on bacterial manganese(II) and iron(II) oxidation and the microbiology of volcanic rock alteration. During this cruise Brad’s research group is investigating iron and manganese oxide microbial mats and will be collecting samples for cultivation and molecular characterization using metagenomic and biochemical approaches.

Akapei Vailea
Kingdom of Tonga

Akapei ki Singapoa Vailea currently works for the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources as a Senior Geological Assistant in the Geological Service Unit. He entered into the Ministry in February, 1997 as a Geologist Trainee. Akapei graduated with a Certificate in Earth Science and Marine Geology from the University of the South Pacific in 2002. This course was run over three years with 3 months of intensive classes per year. He has participated in several research cruises from 2002 around the Tongan waters as an observer and  a scientist. Akapei is 35 years old, married to his loving wife Veisinia Tangikina Vailea, and the father of 6 bright children.

Sharon WalkerSharon Walker
NOAA Vents Program, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle WA

Sharon Walker has been an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, since 1979. She specializes in the development of methods and instrumentation for the detection, monitoring, and mapping of hydrothermal plumes. She has participated in numerous research expeditions to mid-ocean ridges and submarine arc volcanoes. During the response expedition, Walker collected hydrographic, and optical data with the connectivity-temperature-depth (CTD) instrument, and assisted with remotely operated vehicle data logging and archiving.

Gerold WeferGerold Wefer
ROV Technician
MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany

Gerold Wefer received his diploma and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Geosciences from the University of Kiel, Germany in 1973 and 1976 respectively. He became Full Professor of Geosciences at the University of Bremen in 1985, specializing in ecology of benthic foraminifera, the distribution of stable isotopes in calcareous organisms, particle flux in high latitudes and paleoclimate of the South Atlantic. Gerold Wefer has participated in ~ 30 major research cruises and is particularly engaged in the development of deep-sea technology.