Naming every expedition participant in a telepresence-enabled mission is next to impossible! Many from dozens of institutions across the country have provided input into the expedition plan and are expected to participate. However, we've assembled information about the members of the team who are regularly contributing throughout the expedition, either from the ship or on shore.
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.
Expedition Coordinator/Mapping Lead, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
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 archival.
Sam received his B.S. in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW), with minors in environmental science and oceanography, as well as an A.A.S. 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 ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to the Channel Islands in California.
Mapping Watch Lead
Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon. She began her hydrographic career as a NOAA Corps Officer, and she has been sailing as a member of the Mapping Team on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer since 2015. She has 15 years of experience in surveying and mapping with a bachelor’s degree in oceanography and a master’s degree in coastal management with an emphasis on using remote sensing to determine coral reef health. In addition to serving as the mapping watch lead, she has also been the onboard mapping lead for several telepresence mapping expeditions. She has an interest in coastal remote sensing, and she likes to teach explorers-in-training, design t-shirts, and do other creative art projects onboard.
Mapping Watch Lead
Trey Gillespie is from Charleston, South Carolina, and has always found intrigue and peace from the ocean and its coastal processes. That awe and a curiosity for nature led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental geosciences from the College of Charleston, where he graduated in 2019. During his undergraduate career, he participated in an assortment of internships and field opportunities both domestic and international, including different mapping operations aboard various NOAA ships, where he gained invaluable knowledge and experience with a wide selection of sonar and vessel configurations. Trey is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in environmental science and sustainability studies from the College of Charleston.
Ryan Marr is a mapping explorer-in-training currently completing his J.D. with a focus on maritime and international criminal law. After completing his degree, he hopes to enroll in a research doctorate program to continue exploring illicit maritime trade and ocean custodianship in East Africa. This is the second time Ryan has sailed on Okeanos Explorer, the first being in 2018 while he completed a master’s degree in underwater archaeology. Ryan’s interest in ocean preservation and maritime history started while he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and was later reinforced by international travel. His professional life has centered around government service, and his personal passion is exploring new cultures and languages. He feels that the protection and rehabilitation of our ocean waters is not only critical for all forms of life, but also for endangered cultural heritage sites and traditional lifeways worldwide. Ryan is honored to be back with the incredible crew and scientists aboard Okeanos Explorer and hopes to be able to contribute professionally to ocean exploration efforts in the years to come.