Voyage to the Ridge 2022

May 14 - September 2, 2022

Exploration Team

Sam Candio

Sam Candio

Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1 and Expedition 3

Sam Candio is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. He splits his time between conducting field operations aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as an expedition coordinator/mapping lead and conducting shoreside responsibilities at the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, including mission planning, data quality control, and data archiving. Sam received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW), with minors in environmental science and oceanography, and an associate degree in marine technology from Cape Fear Community College. Following graduation, he worked as an instructor for UNCW's MarineQuest, leading a suite of marine science experiential learning programs ranging from the generation of biodiesel from algae to the operation of side-scan sonars and remotely operated vehicles. Prior to signing on with NOAA Ocean Exploration, Sam spent four years aboard NOAA Ship Fairweather, serving as the chief hydrographic survey technician leading coastal bathymetric surveys in areas ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to California’s Channel Islands.

Dan Freitas

Dan Freitas

Mapping Watch Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1

Daniel Freitas is from Rochester, New York. He worked for NOAA as a general vessel assistant for over three years in the augment pool while attending Coastal Carolina University, where he studied marine biology and applied mathematics. Over the last eight years, he has worked in the deck, engineering, and survey departments aboard many NOAA vessels before taking a permanent position aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for 1.5 years. For the last six years years, he has worked as an independent contractor via the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research on Okeanos Explorer, supporting the NOAA Ocean Exploration mapping team. His time aboard consists of acting as a mapping watch lead, helping train and direct explorers-in-training, and working with the senior survey technician and other crew members to ensure the ship’s operations are completed.

Scott France

Scott France

Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 - Biology Science Lead

Scott France is serving as the Okeanos Explorer science advisor for the multi-year ASPIRE campaign in the North Atlantic. He studies the evolution of deep-sea invertebrates, in particular deep-sea corals. He was attracted to a career in marine biology when, as an undergraduate fine arts major, 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 so he switched majors to biology. Scott earned his B.S. in biology from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He held postdoctoral positions at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of New Hampshire, and Harvard University, and taught evolution at Bowdoin College before joining the faculty of the College of Charleston from 1997-2003. Since 2004, he has been in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Over his career, he has visited the deep-ocean floor off the Mariana Islands, Hawaii, Galapagos, California, Bahamas, the Central Pacific, Emperor Seamounts, and canyons and seamounts of the western North Atlantic. This will be his fourth expedition as a science lead on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. When not at work, Scott enjoys birding, nature photography, puzzles, and reading.

Ashton Flinders

Ashton Flinders

Research Geophysicist, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 - On-Ship Science Lead

Dr. Ashton Flinders is a research geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. His work focuses on determining the material properties and structures of magma reservoirs in Earth’s crust across a range of tectonic settings. His multi-disciplinary approach integrates classical marine and terrestrial geophysics (gravity, magnetics, seismology) with thermodynamic modeling of phase equilibria. He recently completed a Presidential Management Fellowship, before converting to permanent research staff. Prior to moving to Hawaiʻi in 2019, he was a Mendenhall post-doctoral fellow at the California Volcano Observatory in Menlo Park, California. He holds master's degrees in geology and geophysics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and ocean engineering with a focus on ocean mapping from the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, focusing on applications of high-performance computing and 3D-full waveform seismic tomography at volcanic settings. He has over one year of collective at-sea experience on more than 15 research cruises, ranging from exploration, academic research, sonar quality assurance testing, and mineral exploration.

Deb Glickson

Deb Glickson

Director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3 - Geology Science Lead

Deb Glickson is a marine geologist with a background in hydrothermal vent geology. She received her Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington in 2007 and also holds a M.S. in geology from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. in geology from the University of Florida. Her doctoral research focused on the magmatic and tectonic evolution of the Endeavour hydrothermal vent fields.

After completing her Ph.D., Deb moved into science policy, where she has used her background in geology and oceanography to provide advice to federal and state governments. She is currently the Director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a non-government non-profit.

Deb has sailed on 17 previous deep-sea research expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian ocean basins and has explored the seafloor with autonomous vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, and human-occupied submersibles. She was privileged to be a science lead on the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition and a shore-based scientist on the 2005 NOAA telepresence-enabled expedition to the Lost City hydrothermal vent field.

Derek Sowers

Derek Sowers

Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition Manager
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 - Expedition Coordinator

Derek Sowers has worked as an expedition coordinator and mapping lead for NOAA Ocean Exploration for the past eight years. He completed a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s in marine resource management from Oregon State University, and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of New Hampshire. He has 16 years of previous experience working for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve network and the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program in both Oregon and New Hampshire. Derek has participated in oceanographic expeditions spanning remote areas of the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. When not at sea, Derek works at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Joana Xavier

Joana Xavier

Researcher, CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto (Portugal)
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3 - Biology Science Lead

Joana Xavier is a researcher and leader of the Deep-Sea Biodiversity and Conservation Research Team at CIIMAR, the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto (Portugal), and an invited Associate Professor II of deep-sea biology at the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Bergen (Norway). She holds a Ph.D. in biology (University of Amsterdam) and a degree in marine biology (University of Azores). Her research focuses on the understanding of basin-scale diversity, biogeographic, and connectivity patterns of deep-sea sponges and sponge habitats using a combination of disciplines (taxonomy, systematics, ecology, and genetics). She also strives to advance the science-policy-society interface, working with local communities to voice their knowledge and perceptions on marine biodiversity, as well as building capacity and tools to support the development and implementation of public policies for sustainable management and conservation of deep-sea vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Joana has participated in 12 expeditions across the North Atlantic and the Arctic, exploring deep-sea habitats on ridges, canyons, and seamounts. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the sea and land with her family.

Kasey Cantwell

Kasey Cantwell

Operations Chief, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Kasey Cantwell is the operations chief for the Expeditions and Exploration Division of NOAA Ocean Exploration. Kasey has a master’s degree in marine affairs and policy and marine geology and geophysics and a bachelor’s degree in marine science and biology, both from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Kasey joined NOAA Ocean Exploration in 2012 and is responsible for overseeing the office’s operational portfolio, including telepresence-enabled expeditions conducted aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. In her previous role as an expedition coordinator for remotely operated vehicle expeditions, she coordinated over a dozen expeditions and projects, including multidisciplinary expeditions to the Atlantic submarine canyons, the Mariana region, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, Glacier Bay National Park, and offshore the southeastern United States. 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.

Megan Cromwell

Megan Cromwell

Oceanographer, NCEI/Center for Coasts, Oceans and Geophysics/Information Services Division
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Megan Cromwell is an Oceanographer with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). She serves as the NCEI team lead for NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer end-to-end data management activities. Megan has been with NOAA Ocean Exploration’s Data Management Team at NCEI since her start as a student intern in 2016. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Oceanography with a certification in Geographical Information Systems from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Environmental Geoscience. Megan has been a competitive sailor since her childhood, which initiated her love for the ocean.

Mark Durbin

Mark Durbin

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Mark Durbin holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a master’s in computer information systems from Tarleton State University, where he focused on network security solutions. Mark has over 28 years experience in designing, testing, and supporting numerous variations of voice/data wired/wireless telecommunications networking solutions and security solutions, services, and products. During his career at MCI/Verizon, he held several engineering, research and development, and management positions and was with the company for over 23 years. During this time, he worked on key network projects and initiatives, including federal security solutions, access solutions, security services, virtualization, and many other large network solutions. In addition, he received four patents for networking and security solutions. Mark is married to Laura, his wife of 32 years, and has three kids and five grandkids. Some of Mark's hobbies and interests include car, truck, and boat repair/restoration; hiking; biking; running; camping; hunting; fishing; boating; amateur radio; storm chasing; home automation/security systems; fitness instructing; and scuba diving.

Margaret Hanley

Margaret Hanley

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1

Margaret Hanley is a double major in geology and German at the College of Charleston and a current member of the college's BEnthic Acoustic Mapping (BEAMS) program. Under the guidance of Dr. Leslie Sautter, she conducted research on deep-sea coral mounds on the North-Central Blake Plateau. Her areas of interest include geological oceanography, remote sensing, and web mapping applications. She enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with friends in her free time.

Gabriel Hernandez

Gabriel Hernandez

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1

Gabriel earned his bachelor's in environmental geosciences and is currently a graduate student at Mississippi State University pursuing his master's degree in the same field. Since childhood, he has not been able to keep away from the ocean, being an avid SCUBA diver and sailing enthusiast. His interests include marine geomorphology, environmental ecology, and remote sensing. In his free time, Gabriel enjoys playing guitar, video games, and digging into any old books he can get his hands on.

Treyson Gillespie

Treyson Gillespie

Mapping Watch Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Treyson (Trey) Gillespie lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and has always had a fascination about the natural world, particularly our ocean and its processes. It was due to this intrigue that Trey found marine sciences and pursued a Bachelor of Science in geology and environmental geosciences from the College of Charleston. He is currently working toward a Master of Science in environmental studies from the same institution. During his studies, he has participated in an assortment of internship and field opportunities both domestic and international, including mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations aboard several NOAA ships. Through these experiences, he has gained invaluable knowledge with a wide variety of sonar vessel configurations.

Art Howard

Art Howard

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

For more than 30 years, Emmy-award winning photographer and producer Art Howard has helped viewers experience life through images from 50 countries and 7 continents. A native of North Carolina, Art has followed researchers aboard multiple deep-sea missions, documenting the excitement and challenges of exploration. Art uses the latest video technology to bring viewers as close as possible to life at sea, capturing both scientists and the marine life they seek to understand. Art has spent the last 11 years independently producing media for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Sean Kennison

Sean Kennison

Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Sean Kennison first joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration in 2014 while earning his undergraduate degree at the Pennsylvania State University. He sailed on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as part of the engineering team and assisted with various design projects throughout his senior year. Upon graduating at the top of his class with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in engineering mechanics, he joined the team full time. Sean regularly maintains the vehicles and continually works on improvements to keep them up-to-date with technological advances. He has gained invaluable experience and knowledge through the seasons, onshore and offshore, that has turned him into a versatile engineer. Initially starting as a passionate navigator, Sean has grown to become a skilled pilot and is a proven lead for the remotely operated vehicle expedition team.

Bob Knott

Bob Knott

Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1

Bob has almost 50 years of experience in broadcast engineering. Following a 37-year career with Rhode Island PBS, 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, Exploration Vessel Nautilus, Research Vessel Endeavor, and Research Vessel Atlantis, plus many other University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System 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.

Andy Lister

Andy Lister

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Andy Lister graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in ocean engineering. He went on to study at Embry-Riddle, focusing on artificial intelligence systems and obtaining a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. After school, he worked in the oilfield before starting his own business in 2014. He has currently joined the team as a mechanical engineer with additional interests in the data management side. He enjoys coding, electronics, and working aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to bring the public to unexplored places across the globe.

Jim Meyers

Jim Meyers

Systems Administrator, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1 and Expedition 2

Jim Meyers attended Williams College and received a bachelor’s degree in history. He has worked in the information technology field for over 20 years, including 19 years at various positions at Sea Research Foundation in Mystic, Connecticut. He is married with two adult children. Outside of work, he is an avid soccer fan and plans European vacations around match schedules.

Thomas Morrow

Thomas Morrow

Expedition Coordinator (in training), NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Thomas Morrow is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. He spends his time working as an expedition coordinator with the mapping team on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and supporting NOAA’s ocean exploration mission. Thomas is a marine geologist and geophysicist who started his ocean exploration career while earning his bachelor’s degree in geology at the University of Florida. He then moved to the University of Idaho for master’s and doctorate degrees in geological sciences, studying mid-ocean ridges, fracture zones, and hotspot seamounts. Prior to joining NOAA Ocean Exploration, Thomas spent several years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Boston College, coordinating missions to explore the Gofar Transform Fault on Research Vessel Atlantis and Research Vessel .Thomas G. Thompson.

Andrew O'Brien

Andrew O'Brien

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 3

Andrew (Andy) O’Brien started his professional career in the U.S. Navy, where he ran a small electronic test system calibration laboratory and instructed NATO students in satellite ground station repair. Following the Navy, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in computer science from the University of Vermont before joining Greensea Systems as the lead software engineer. During his tenure at Greensea, Andy designed, developed, and supported over 40 widely varying custom robot control systems and their operator interfaces for government and industry. Notably, Andy was the software lead on NOAA Ocean Explorations remotely operated vehicles Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Andy so enjoyed working with NOAA Ocean Exploration, and supporting their exploration mission, that he asked to join them. Andy now splits his time between developing software, managing science and engineering data, maintaining the satellite communications system, and navigating, piloting, and co-piloting the deep-submergence vehicles. During his free time, you can often find him in Coventry, Rhode Island.

Catalina Rubiano

Catalina Rubiano

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1

Catalina Rubiano is a master’s student at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science. Her research focuses on submerged paleo shorelines on the West Florida Shelf and the sea level history that can be gleaned from them. She is also a member of the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies at USF and has participated in mapping projects on the West Florida Shelf and Tampa Bay. She is passionate about Earth science as well as ocean life with previous research having looked at deep-sea invertebrate diversity. Outside of research, Catalina is a life-long soccer player having played in college (Geaux Tigers!) and professionally.

Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 1, Expedition 2, and Expedition 3

Chris Wright holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College. After graduation, he worked as a network and systems administrator and engineer in the hospitality industry in the Northeast and Mountain West for more than 15 years. Recently relocating back to the East Coast, Chris joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) data team in early 2019 as one of the newest members of the organization. In 2019, he completed his first expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and is extremely excited about continuing the journey to explore the oceans around the world. When he isn't sailing on Okeanos Explorer, he’s busy working in GFOE’s Quonset office planning, designing, and implementing data solutions to help refine and mature its base of operations for ocean exploration. Chris and his family currently reside in Newport, Rhode Island.

Fernando Aragon

Fernando Aragon

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Fernando Aragon graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree 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 at a national conference, and even co-author 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.

Caitlin Bailey

Caitlin Bailey

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Caitlin Bailey became a member of the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration video team and started sailing aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2016. She is a “bi-polar” explorer, having been to both the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as a National Geographic Explorer. Caitlin is passionate about wildlife and sharing the deep sea and polar regions with a wide variety of audiences. She has a Master of Fine Arts in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University and a Bachelor of Science in animal biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When not at sea, Caitlin resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she enjoys SCUBA diving, hiking, and entertaining her labradoodle, Camie.

Roland Brian

Roland Brian

Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Roland Brian brings 29 years of experience and a keen eye for precision high-definition 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 NOAA Ocean Exploration since 2009 and has been engaged in every telepresence-enabled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) expedition. He has also provided services for other projects using NOAA Ocean Exploration’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 ROVs Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Again, Roland’s experience embodies the breadth and depth of knowledge NOAA Ocean Exploration 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.

Brian Doros

Brian Doros

Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Brian Doros is a television broadcast engineer who was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Active in sports throughout high school, Brian moved to Southern California and spent the next few years traveling the world surfing and then exploring his technical interests at college in San Diego, California. After changing his course of study to electronics, he focused on broadcast electronics and technical maintenance in broadcasting. His career path first led him to employment at IBM/MCA Video Laser Disc Company in Costa Mesa, California, doing research and development in the early days of optical laser disc, then to Los Angeles, where he specialized in film for television post-production. The next several years were spent working in the Hollywood post-production industry at Paramount Pictures, MGM/Lorimar Telepictures, 20th Century Fox, NFL Films, and Sony Broadcast Company North America, contributing to his 25 years of experience in television post-production and broadcast systems integration. After Hollywood, Brian worked in the field, traveling and upgrading network television facilities to digital broadcasting capabilities during the analog to digital conversion. He now has moved on to less broadcast traditional applications of his background working in his current position.

Kim Galvez

Kim Galvez

Mapping Watchstander, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Kim Galvez is a Florida native whose interests in marine life started at a young age with regular trips to the reefs in the Florida Keys. Kim studied biological sciences at the University of Miami where she became a research assistant with the Marine Geosciences Department at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS). Kim continued her education at RSMAS, earning a doctorate in marine geology and geophysics, focusing on cold-water coral systems within the carbonate province of the Straits of Florida. Her research included habitat mapping and terrain classification with acoustic maps, carbonate sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry, and geochronometry. After sailing as a geology science lead during NOAA Ocean Exploration’s 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-Sea Exploration expedition, Kim joined the office as an expedition coordinator in 2020. During her spare time, Kim enjoys traveling, hiking, scuba diving, and baking.

Jon Mefford

Jon Mefford

Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Jon Mefford holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hawai‘i. He began his career working as a software test engineer on the Space Shuttle program for several years before moving to Hawai‘i to pursue his master's degree. During his time as a graduate student, he participated in a number of research expeditions aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as a member of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) team. This experience was invaluable to him as he worked on his degree, which focused on the design, development, and implementation of control systems for marine robotics. Since that time, Jon has spent more than eight years working as a test and integration engineer on the Orion Space Program, occasionally returning to support expeditions with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration. He remains passionate about both space and deep-sea exploration and appreciates the many parallels that can be drawn between them. Jon currently resides in Denver, Colorado.

Lars Murphy

Lars Murphy

Ocean/Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Lars Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Rhode Island. Growing up on the coast of Maine, he developed a constant pull toward the unknown, the unexplored, and chaotic environments and acquired a drive to bring meaning, understanding, and order to these areas. Lars has a professional background working with autonomous underwater vehicles and other subsea robotics systems both internationally and nationally and now supports remotely operated vehicles Deep Discoverer and Seirios as an ocean/mechanical engineer.

Marcel Peliks

Marcel Peliks

Mapping Watch Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Marcel Peliks is a graduate student working towards his Master of Science in geological oceanography at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. His thesis is focused on developing multibeam mapping capabilities for the school, as well as conducting preliminary surveys of Monterey Canyon and surrounding beaches. In 2021, he was a NOAA Ocean Exploration mapping explorer-in-training and participated in the cloud mapping pilot project for the 2021 NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer field season. Participating from his home in California, Marcel helped test all aspects of the cloud-based mapping system. His efforts contributed to standard operating procedures for future cloud mapping operations. Marcel has previously sailed aboard Okeanos Explorer as an at-sea explorer-in-training. After completing graduate school, Marcel plans to pursue career opportunities that apply his knowledge of geologic processes and instrumentation to ocean exploration.

Chris Ritter

Chris Ritter

Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Chris Ritter first joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) on the Cayman Rise Expedition in 2011, just prior to being hired full time by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). For the next three years, an informal NAVSEA-NOAA relationship allowed Chris to continue to participate in GFOE’s design, engineering, and offshore operations. Chris holds bachelor’s degrees in ocean engineering and aerospace engineering with a minor in mathematics from Virginia Tech. Chris has been a major contributor to GFOE’s design-build process and a tremendous asset to their offshore operations. He is a skilled navigator, pilot, and co-pilot and brings with him a level of enthusiasm that everyone around him appreciates and respects. In late 2014, Chris joined GFOE’s Mechanical Engineering team full time. He is enthusiastic about training the next generation and tackling new projects. Chris resides in Falls Church, Virginia.

Anna Sagatov

Anna Sagatov

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Anna Sagatov is an award-winning science filmmaker from Vienna, Virginia. Her short films and documentaries have screened at numerous festivals around the United States and have been featured on many science communication websites including the Smithsonian’s blog, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and Labocine. Her films focus on topics such as the science of emergence in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, the science of meditation, political conservatives who care about climate change, an artist who makes work about microplastics, women in science, and the microbial life with biomedical potential that is being found in a Superfund site in Butte, Montana. Anna has also worked on film crews for National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and on several films that have screened at Sundance and Cannes Film Festival. Anna has a master’s degree in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University and a B.A. in human ecology with a focus on the intersections of art and science from College of the Atlantic, and she is a PADI divemaster.

Jon Simmons

Jon Simmons

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Jon Simmons has a background in aviation maintenance and documentation. More recently he has been involved with various aspects of underwater lighting, camera, and power systems with DeepSea Power and Light. He is looking forward to observing first-hand how customers use the type of products DeepSea produces. Camping and motorcycling around San Diego and southern California with his wife and kids fill his off time.

Arvind Shantharam

Arvind Shantharam

Sample Data Manager, NOAA Deep-sea Coral Research and Technology Program
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2

Dr. Arvind Shantharam is a data manager and research associate for the NOAA Deep-sea Coral Research and Technology Program and will serve as sample data manager for the second Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition by assisting in the collection of samples and facilitating their archival. Arvind has sailed on eight research expeditions in the Atlantic and Pacific, acting in various capacities of deep seafloor sample collection including doing four dives aboard the Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Lab’s human occupied vehicles Pisces IV and V. Arvind holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master of Arts in applied ecology from Stony Brook University, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. He has a general background in deep-sea ecology with particular interests in biogeography and spatial analysis.

Levi Unema

Levi Unema

Electrical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Voyage to the Ridge 2022 Expedition 2 and Expedition 3

Levi Unema is an Eagle Scout from Lynden, Washington. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering along with a Certificate in Electric Power Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Levi joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) in 2016 and designs, builds, operates, and maintains GFOE’s remotely operated vehicles. Since joining the team, he has acquired many technical skills in the satellite communication field, in addition to the broadcast video field. Levi sails on most remotely operated vehicle expeditions on Okeanos Explorer, satisfying the roles of electrical engineer, navigator, pilot, co-pilot, and sometimes VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) engineer. Levi resides in Newport, Rhode Island.