ROV Technician - Oceaneering
Chad Allen was born and raised in central Texas. He attended Texas State Technical College in Waco for a degree in welding technology. He then worked as an iron worker and structural welder for four years. He began working for Oceaneering in 2011, primarily on work class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). This is his first foray into the northern Gulf of Alaska.
Undergraduate Student – College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Kate is an undergraduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, majoring in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Raised in Fairbanks with an interest in the outdoors, she was led to studying fisheries, then to concentrating on ocean science. Kate will be aboard the Sikuliaq as a research technician intern under the advisement of Dr. Katrin Iken. She will assist in working with benthic samples and ROV dive documentation. After the cruise, she will be working on data entry and analysis from the ROV benthic imagery. This is her first research cruise and she hopes to gain experience with the wide range of gear and conducting oceanographic research in an intense field setting.
Media Team Leader, Education Liason - Microcosm
Carlee Belt is an educator and videographer currently based in Chicago. In 2016, she received her B.A. in Television Directing and Production from Columbia College Chicago and is a current graduate student at National Louis University pursuing her Master’s degree in Education. She is the Coordinator of Education and Outreach for Microcosm, a documentary project led by filmmaker and scientist, Michele Hoffman Trotter and works to combine media and art with education. She has taught in both Denver Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools and was the inaugural Artist in Residence at Maui Preparatory Academy where she guided students through a filmmaking program of her own design combining science and art. Carlee will be acting as director and editor for Microcosm during this expedition.
ROV Pilot/Technician - Oceaneering
Jim Bertramson was born in Algiers, Louisiania, and spent his formative years growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he first fell in love with the ocean, scuba diving, and snorkeling with his family among the reefs of the ‘Thousand Islands.’ Since then, he has continued diving and snorkeling around the world in locations such as Krakatoa, Trinidad, Mexico, Belize, Australia, Manado, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Valhalla Nuclear Missile Silo near Abilene, Texas. In addition to his NAUI Master diver and PADI Advanced Open Water diving certifications, Jim obtained professional licenses as a Commercial Diver, EMT, Dive Medic, Pre-Hospital Trauma Advanced Life Support Specialist and Certified Hyperbaric Technician that led to a seven-year career in the Commercial Diving industry and 8.5 years working in the field of hyperbaric medicine. Jim is continuing to explore the ocean’s mysteries now as an ROV Pilot/Technician and is looking forward to being a part of research teams that are unlocking its secrets!
Graduate student - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Delaney Coleman is a Masters candidate in the Oceanography department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying under Dr. Russ Hopcroft. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. As an undergraduate, she assisted on various projects pertaining to fish, corals, jellyfish, and invertebrates using data collection methods such as spearfishing and scuba diving. For the past two years, she investigated behavioral responses to predatory stimuli in a tropical copepod species under direction from Drs. Petra Lenz and Dan Hartline. She will now be researching lipid accumulation in sub-arctic copepods with the assistance of Dr. Hopcroft.
Professor in Oceanography - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Eric Collins is an Assistant Professor in Oceanography at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He obtained his BS in Biochemistry at Washington State University and his MS and PhD in Biological Oceanography and Astrobiology at the University of Washington studying the evolution of microbes in Arctic sea ice. Dr. Collins conducted postdoctoral fellowships on microbial evolution in extreme environments at the Origins Institute at McMaster University and at McGill University in Canada. In the Cryomics lab at UAF, Dr. Collins uses high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques to study the distribution, evolution, and function of bacteria, algae, fungi, and viruses in the Arctic cryosphere and marine environments. On this NOAA-OER cruise, Dr. Collins will, for the first time, explore the diversity of microbes at seamounts in the Gulf of Alaska using metagenomic and barcoding approaches.
Avian Biologist - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska
Callie Gesmundo is an avian biologist specializing in landbirds and shorebirds, currently working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management (MBM) in Anchorage Alaska. Callie has been working with birds in Alaska since 2010, and has been involved in numerous other avian research projects during her tenure as a field biologist, including several U.S. states and four other countries. Currently she is involved in multiple projects with MBM including monitoring landbirds within remote areas of the Alaska interior and assisting with various surveys and monitoring programs such as aerial counts and seabird observations.
Post-doctoral researcher – Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
Dr. Jackie Goordial is a Canadian microbiologist fascinated with microorganisms that thrive in environments most would consider extreme - like the ocean subsurface and permanently cold permafrost soils. She completed her M.Sc at the University of Toronto, and Ph.D studies at McGill University where she did field campaigns to both the Antarctic and Arctic to hunt for microbes that love the cold. Dr. Goordial held a postdoctoral fellowship at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences where she became enamored with the microorganisms that live within oceanic crust, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University where she is investigating the fate of aged permafrost carbon once it erodes into the marine environment.
Associate Professor – University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Sarah Hardy is a benthic ecologist with a research focus on polar and sub-polar marine invertebrates and special interests in deep-sea biology. She earned her PhD in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii, and worked at the Natural History Museum in London, UK before coming to Alaska in 2007 for an International Polar Year post-doctoral fellowship. She has participated in several expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, working on a range of topics that include reproductive ecology, food web dynamics, and community ecology of soft-sediment benthic fauna. Dr. Hardy is part of the benthic team and will focus on capturing small benthic organisms from the soft sediment deep-sea plains that surround the seamounts.
Professor in Oceanography - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Russ Hopcroft is a full Professor at the University of Alaska's Institute of Marine Science in Fairbanks. He grew up fascinated by aquatic life (and Jacques Cousteau specials), pursuing the sciences during his education. Dr. Hopcroft received his M.S. degree in 1988 and his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The focus of his graduate research was on marine plankton ecology in the tropical waters surrounding Jamaica, West Indies. From 1997 to 1999, Dr. Hopcroft was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). At MBARI, he was heavily involved in the use of ROVs, as well as traditional oceanographic surveys, to study the oceans. He joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2000 and has since focused on Arctic and subarctic ecosystems. He is currently the lead investigator for the Northern Gulf of Alaska Long-term Ecological Research (NGA- LTER) program. Dr. Hopcroft pursues a broad array of research interests, concentrating on the 'lower' planktonic trophic levels that ultimately shape the structure of all marine communities. His research focuses on the composition, production, and energy flow of pelagic ecosystems and better methods to explore these topics. With 120 scientific publications, he is a leading expert on Arctic and subarctic zooplankton biodiversity, with broad expertise across all taxonomic groups. Although much of his research focuses on the abundant copepod crustaceans, he is also a specialist on the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of the pelagic tunicates.
Professor in Marine Biology – University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Katrin Iken is the co-chief scientist for the cruise and the lead investigator of the seafloor (benthic) component of the project. She will focus especially on the so-called “epibenthos”, which refers to the organisms that live on top of the seafloor sediments. This refers, for example, to corals, sponges and fishes we expect to find on the top of the seamounts. Katrin is a benthic ecologist with particular interest in the marine high northern latitude ecosystems. She studies biodiversity in seafloor communities and food web connections using stable isotope analysis. Katrin has been working in the Arctic and Subarctic for 20 years, with significant time spent in the field every summer. Katrin received her PhD at the Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Germany in 1995 and did post-doctoral work at the AWI and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, working mostly in the Antarctic, before starting a faculty position at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and discovering her love for northern waters.
Graduate Student - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Heidi received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Mexico in 2015. During the same year, she joined CIBNOR (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, Mexico), where she became passionate about jellyfish while doing research on the benthic stage of cannon ball jellyfish. Heidi is currently a Master’s student in Oceanography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, under the supervision of Dr. Russ Hopcroft. Her research focuses on gelatinous zooplankton biomass and abundance in the Gulf of Alaska. In addition to jellyfish research, she enjoys field work on research vessels.
Graduate Student - College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Brittany Jones is working on her Ph.D. in Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with Dr. Sarah Hardy. She earned her M.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Brittany is currently studying benthic carbon demand in the Pacific Arctic by measuring respiration rates of individual macrofauna and whole sediment communities. She has participated on two previous cruises on the R/V Sikuliaq in the northern Bering and southern Chukchi Sea shallow shelves. Brittany is looking forward to being part of the benthic team on this cruise for her first time exploring the Gulf of Alaska.
ROV Superintendent - Oceaneering
Travis Kolbe is originally from Oregon, but has recently moved to Florida. His love for the ocean and technology has accompanied him throughout his career. He did four years in the Navy and has been working for Oceaneering and their ROV systems for almost 24 years. He will be working as one of the ROV Technicians on this cruise to the Gulf of Alaska Seamounts and is looking forward to that adventure.
Research Professor - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Dr. Petra Lenz is an organismal biologist working on the eco-physiology of marine zooplankton. Originally from Brazil, she came to the US to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego. She continued her education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she completed her M.A. and Ph.D. For the past 15 years, Petra has been working in Maine, Hawaii and Alaska to adapt molecular approaches to the study of physiological responses of copepods to different environmental and experimental conditions. By defining the physiological capacities of these organisms she can then develop tools for predicting the consequences of environmental variability and climate change on their fitness. In the Gulf of Alaska, she applies transcriptomic and bioinformatic techniques to investigating the health of populations of lipid-rich copepods that are an important food source for higher trophic levels. Her goal is to understand the limits of physiological plasticity (flexibility) of these copepods within the framework of a changing environment.
Dr. Dhugal Lindsay is an Australian working in Japan at JAMSTEC and several universities. His research focuses on mid-water ecology, particularly concentrating on gelatinous organisms that are too fragile to be sampled by conventional methods. He is also heavily involved in developing the technologies to study these organisms in situ. Dr. Lindsay has taken part in surveys in the Antarctic, Arctic, South Pacific Gyre, the Sargasso Sea, the Challenger Deep, the Mediterranean, at hydrothermal vents, the Coral Sea, South-East Asia etc. He has been collecting DNA barcodes, voucher specimens, and ecological information on species in order to characterize their realized and potential niches in the ecosystem, revise their taxonomy, and provide an expert-vetted molecular toolkit for future studies on the life histories and feeding ecology of this extremely important fraction of the deep biosphere. He also likes writing haiku poetry and is looking forward to his first trip to the Gulf of Alaska as another source of inspiration.
Graduate student - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Amelia McCarthy graduated from Bryn Mawr College, in Pennsylvania, before moving to Alaska to study zooplankton. Her senior thesis focused on the broad taxonomic shifts in the surface zooplankton of the Phoenix Islands as recorded by yearly sampling. Despite her earlier work with surface layers, she is interested in the mesopelagic (deeper water) zooplankton. In her time outside her studies, Amelia enjoys playing guitar and mandolin poorly and piano passably. She also enjoys hiking, spending time in, on, or around the ocean, and reading.
Post-doctoral Researcher - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Jennifer Questel was born in Albany, New York, and graduated high school in 2003 from Ogdensburg Free Academy in Ogdensburg, New York. She received her B.S. in zoology from the State University of New York at Oswego. Here, she gained her first research experience with zooplankton by sampling and tracking invasion pathways of a non-native mysid shrimp into the Laurentian Great Lakes using genetic markers. Jennifer received her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016 under the supervision of Russell Hopcroft. Her dissertation focused on zooplankton assemblages in the northeastern Chukchi Sea to better understand how physical, chemical, and genetic processes influence the patterns observed in planktonic organisms. After completing her Ph.D., Jennifer headed back to the east coast for a post-doctoral research position at the University of Connecticut where she focused on molecular ecology and biodiversity of zooplankton assemblages of the Arctic Ocean. Of late, Jennifer was awarded the 2019 UAF Centennial Post-doctoral Fellowship which will allow her to continue her molecular analyses on zooplankton assemblages for the Gulf of Alaska. During the R/V Sikuliaq Gulf of Alaska seamount cruise, Jennifer will be a member of the biological oceanography team. Her role will consist of collecting zooplankton samples using various plankton nets for morphological and molecular (metagenetic) analysis and picking various zooplankton individuals for DNA barcoding (molecular-based species identification). In addition to Jennifer’s enthusiasm for lower trophic organisms, she also enjoys rock climbing, photography, and going on adventures with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Odin.
Post-doctoral Researcher - University of Barcelona
Dr. Vittoria Roncalli is a marine molecular ecologist with particular interest in zooplankters. Originally from Italy, she completed her undergraduate and M.A. degrees at the Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn” (Naples, Italy) where she became interested in the interaction between toxic algae and copepods. She came to the US to complete her Ph.D. at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she acquired expertise on the application of molecular tools to study marine organism physiology, particularly in response to signals and stresses in the marine environment. Vittoria is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Barcelona (Spain) where she has been working on a project trying to bridge the fields of Ecology and Evolutionary Developmental Biology (EcoEvoDevo). She is using larvaceans, a type of small gelatinous, filter-feeding zooplankton that can be hugely important in the marine ecosystem, as a model organism. She is investigating the genetic responses of embryo development against natural toxins derived from climate-related or human activity-related changes in the ocean. Her goal is to understand or a molecular level how to monitor stress in natural populations of larvaceans and potentially other marine species in different habitats, especially those where harmful algal blooms may be a risk factor.
Media - Microcosm
Donna Marie Siegel received her B. A. in Cinema Arts & Science with a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking from Columbia College Chicago. During her time at Columbia, she became heavily involved with Michele Hoffman Trotter’s documentary project—Microcosm: "a documentary about the microscopic universe in the ocean." Her roles on Microcosm have included video editor, cinematographer, lead intern, travel production assistant, and project coordinator. Donna Marie grew up exploring creek beds in Connecticut and climbing mountains in Tennessee. She has been marrying her love for the outdoors with filmmaking for the past 4 years. Her relationship with nature—and the people tied to it— has led from guiding rafts down white water rivers across the Southeast to documenting manta ray research in Hawaii, to filming motorcycle tours in the Himalayas. On this expedition, Donna Marie will be acting as a cinematographer for the Microcosm production team.
Research Technician - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Caitlin Smoot will be part of the zooplankton team. She started her career in the biological sciences working with invertebrates in seagrass beds in the Chesapeake Bay while working on her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary. After earning her B.S. in Biology, she worked with micro- and meso-zooplankton and benthic invertebrates in the Great Lakes. Her interest in polar ecosystems was sparked when she worked as a zooplankton technician in the Antarctic. She completed her M.S. degree in Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in where she studied epipelagic and mesopelagic zooplankton communities in the Beaufort Sea. After her degree completion, she transitioned to a research staff position at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she continues to work with zooplankton in the Pacific-Arctic region, including traditional taxonomic assessment of plankton samples and experimental work with live animals. Her field work experience ranges from small watercraft work on rivers and the Great Lakes, to multi-week expeditions in the Antarctic, Arctic, and North Pacific. She is especially interested in mesopelagic copepods!
Research Technician - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Kelly Walker graduated with her M.S. in Fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2018. Previously, she had been working in the UAF Fisheries Oceanography Lab since 2011 until she decided to pursue her Master’s degree in 2014. She has participated in a multitude of research cruises in the Arctic Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, gathering information on local fish life. She will be working with the benthic team during this cruise, deploying the fish trawl outside of the seamount areas where possible and also helping with the benthic and fish ROV observations on the seamounts. This is Kelly’s first foray into the Gulf of Alaska and she is excited to discover a new area.