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Science At Sea

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Who are the super scientists on board?  Here is a little information about each of the scientists that are aboard for this research cruise and some action shots of them at work.


Dr. Tracey Sutton from Nova Southeastern University is the Chief Scientist for the DEEPEND Consortium.  He leads up the project and sets the plan for what the group of scientist are focused on.  On the cruise he makes decisions about where we will be doing our specimen collections if we have to make any modifications to the original plan due to weather or equipment issues. Once the organisms are brought on board he does fish identification.  He also removes some of the fish organs so that they can be processed and tested for the presence of hydrocarbons.


   Dr. Jon Moore is from the Honors College at Florida Atlantic University where he studies Marine and terrestrial ecology.  He specializes in deep sea fish fish ecology & evolution.  On the trip he is serving as a fish taxonomist identifying many of the interesting fish finds.


Dr. Tammy Frank is a biological oceanographer from Nova Southeastern University. 
She studies deep-sea ecosystems specifically vision and bioluminescence. For the DEEPEND project she is leading studies on crustacean abundance and diversity.




Dr. Mike Vecchione is a zoologist who works for NOAA as the Cephalopod Curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.  He is also an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary’s Institute of Marine Science. 


  Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom from Florida International University specializes in crustacean genetics.  At FIU she teaches genetics and invertebrate zoology. She is using genetic diversity as a way to measure ecosystem health and recovery.


  Dr. Joseph Warren Stonybrook University uses  Hydroacoustics to study the migration of marine life.  Here he is determining the density of different species of fish to correlate with the acoustic findings.  


   Dr. Kevin Boswell from Florida International University studies hydroacoustics as well.  Here he is preparing the wombat to be attached to the CTD device.  The wombat can collect more specific data than the regular acoustic transducer.  Dr. Warren and Dr. Boswell can use this information to direct a more targeted trawl that is aimed at specific layers of animals.


One of the scientists, Dr. Cole Easson from Nova Southeastern University is studying microbes from the different layers of ocean water that have been collected by the CTD.   He filters the water from the different layers and extracts the microbes onto a filter.  The filters are taken back to the lab and the DNA of the microbes is examined.  Microbes are then divided into two groups; one group which occurs in the photic zone and the other group occurs in the deeper zone where the light does not reach.


Here is Gray Lawson recording data in his science log book.  He is a marine technician employed by (CSA) Continental Shelf Associates and contracted by the DEEPEND project to run the MOCNESS.  His work as a marine technician has taken him to many interesting locations such as Cameron, Israel, Qatar and the Caribbean.


Dr. Dante Fenolio is from the San Antonio Zoo where he serves as the Vice President of Conservation and Research.   He is the  Outreach & Filming Lead for the DEEPEND Project.  He is tasked with capturing all of the unique finds on the cruise and documenting the work of the scientists with film and interviews.   


 April Cook is the DEEPEND Project Manager from Nova Southeastern University. While at sea she is in charge of sample data collection.  April is the glue that helps hold the project together.  She sets up the logistics of the project keeps everyone on task, making sure that all information is logged into the database and all samples are labelled correctly so that the samples will generate valid comparable data.

 Graduate Students


Max Weber is a masters student at Texas A&M University at Galveston where he focuses on fish genetics.  Some species are difficult to determine differences in appearance only and must be determined genetically.


Travis Richards is a PhD student at Texas A&M University at Galveston where he is studying food web ecology.  He is helping to process fish genetics.  He will be using stable isotope analysis to examine the structure of the food web in the marine environment.


Jacki Long is from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science where she is completing her masters in Optical Oceanography. She uses the CTD to collect information about the water column, uses the back scattering device to information about particle size & abundance, and collects optical data to ground truth satellite information from remote sensing devices.


  For more information about each of these scientists please click here to check out their biographies available on the team page on another portion of the DEEPEND website.  






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Guest Wednesday, 19 June 2024