During the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-Sea Exploration - Mapping cruise, the on-ship team is being joined by three Explorers-in-Training. Meet the members of our team below.
And of course, none of this exploration would be possible without the work of the dedicated NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and civilians who operate NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as part of NOAA's fleet managed by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation.
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Derek has worked as an Expedition Coordinator and Mapping Lead for OER for the past six years. He completed a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire, an M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University, and is currently a PhD candidate in Oceanography at the University of New Hampshire. He has 14 years of previous experience working for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve network and the EPA’s National Estuary Program in both Oregon and New Hampshire. Derek has participated in 25 oceanographic expeditions spanning remote areas of the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Derek works onshore at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire.
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.
Rebecca Composto recently completed a Princeton in Africa Fellowship focusing on environmental research and education engagement at Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. Before this fellowship, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Environmental Science and Biology. During undergrad, she worked on a project to collect samples from an inlet in New Zealand and produced several maps exploring the attributes of the seafloor. She thoroughly enjoys doing fieldwork and using mapping technology to explore and learn more about the ocean.
Lynette Davis earned a BFA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2010 and is currently pursuing dual MS degrees in Computer Science and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. As a graduate research assistant at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, she is working to improve the performance of the Center's autonomous surface vessels by developing automated methods of monitoring multibeam sonar data quality. Lynette has previously participated in shallow-water mapping cruises in the Atlantic, South Pacific, and Arctic and is looking forward to gaining deepwater mapping experience as an Explorer-In-Training aboard the Okeanos.
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Brian Doros is a Television Broadcast Engineer, born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Active in sports throughout high school, Brian moved to southern California spending the next few years traveling the world surfing then exploring his technical interests at college in San Diego, California. After changing his course of study to electronics, he then 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 fiel,d 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.
General Vessel Assistant and Marine Survey Technician, NOAA
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 course of eight years, he worked in the deck, engineering, and survey departments aboard many NOAA vessels before taking a permanent position aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer with the Deck Department for a year and a half. For the last three years, he has been working as an Independent Contractor for UCAR aboard the Okeanos Explorer in the Survey Department. 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 ship crew to ensure the ship’s missions are completed.
Janessy is a marine biologist with CSS Dynamic working with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). She received her M.S. in marine biology from the College of Charleston and a B.S. in biology from the University of Florida. Janessy began exploring the deep sea in 2010, shortly after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She immediately fell in love with offshore cruises and using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to characterize deepwater habitats. Recently, she served as a National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Science Policy fellow, hosted by the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. Her graduate work examined the genetic and morphological diversity of Swiftia exserta, a cold-water coral found throughout the Northwest Atlantic. Prior to her fellowship, she worked as a lab technician in a U.S. Geological Survey benthic ecology lab where she examined the biodiversity and community structures of sediment infauna in the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic Canyons. Her diverse interests include the exploration, management, and conservation of deepwater habitats; octocoral phylogenetics; and the damage assessment and restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the DWH oil spill. She is thrilled to join the Okeanos team as a seafloor mapping trainee and hopes to use and share what she learns with her peers back in the NCCOS Marine Spatial Ecology Division.
Jason Meyer first pursued his passion for seafloor exploration while earning a B.S. from the University of Hawaii Hilo in Geology studying volcanic processes along the Hawaiian Islands. He would later go on to receive his M.S. in Geology from the University of South Carolina focusing on regional mapping and classification of seafloor volcanoes along the East Pacific Rise and the Galapagos Spreading Center in the Pacific Ocean.
After graduating in 2006, Jason has worked as a hydrographer mapping the coast, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes along the west coast from Mexico to Alaska and Hawaii. He has endured long hours and challenging conditions at the helm collecting data that serves maritime navigation and construction, environmental studies, and academic exploration. Since dedicating his career to hydrography, Jason continues to be driven by curiosity and the challenge of the unknown depths.
This will be Jason’s fifth season working on the Okeanos Explorer as a mapping technician. While not at sea, he enjoys climbing, surfing, and backpacking with his family in Battle Ground, Washington.
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Chris Wright holds a B.S in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and a M.B.A from Rollins College. After graduation, he worked as a Network and Systems Administrator and Engineer in the tourism/ski resort industry in the North East and Mountain West for 15+ years. Recently relocating back to the East Coast, Chris joined the GFOE data team in early 2019 as one of the newest members to the organization. He has just completed his first open-ocean cruise aboard the Okeanos Explorer and is extremely excited about continuing the journey to explore the oceans around the world. When he isn't sailing aboard the Okeanos Explorer, he is working out of the Quonset office planning, designing and implementing data solutions to help GFOE continue to refine and mature its base of operations for ocean exploration. Chris and his family currently reside in Newport, Rhode Island.