Cruise informatiom

R/V Thompson | ROV Jason and AUV Sentry | Seattle-Seattle, August 14-29


Science Team: 

Chris Algar (Microbiology/Dalhouise University): I am trying to find out what microbes are living in the warm hydrothermal fluids circulating beneath the seafloor and what energy source they use to fuel their growth.  We do this by collecting samples of fluids venting from the seafloor.  The samples are taken back to our lab where genetic sequencing will determine what types of microbes they are. I will also conduct rate experiments on board the ship that will allow us to determine how fast these microbes are taking up carbon (i.e. growing). The final goal is develop a mathematical model describing the growth of these microbes and the cycling of carbon and nutrients at Axial seamount. I have an undergraduate degree in chemistry and biochemistry from Laurentian University and a PhD in oceanography from Dalhousie University. After my PhD I was a post doctoral scientist at Marine Biological Laboratory, where I developed mathematical models describing the microbial ecosystems of coastal sediments, and now I am trying to do the same thing in hydrothermal systems. Currently I am an Assistant Professor in Oceanography at Dalhousie University. I am interested in how the activity of microbes influence the cycling of carbon and nutrients between the seafloor and the water above. Hydrothermal vents are really interesting because they are one of the few areas of the Earth where life can exist total independent of the sunlight above. At these vents microbes obtain energy from the rocks they are living on and chemicals contained in the fluids rising up from deep in the Earth. Mostly I am interested in understanding what chemicals these microbes are using for growth, and how fast they are using them. That and underwater volcanoes are just really cool.
Andra Bobbitt (Data Management/Oregon State University-CIMRS): My role on this cruise is to help keep track of the ROV and cruise data and I'm the cruise webmaster for this blog. I became interested in this area of research through: The marine geologist I was working for at Scripps Institution of Oceanography while I was an undergraduate at UCSD offered me a job and a berth on a month-long research expedition from Alaska to Hawaii.  The opportunity lead to a career. From this cruise, I am most interested in actually getting to 'see' how Axial Volcano has changed in a relatively short, geological time frame through the use of technology now available to scientists. Through GIS maps and imagery, you can imagine it all without all the water.
Nathan Buck (Plume geochemist/University of Washington-JISAO)
Dave Butterfield (Chemistry/University of Washington-JISAO)
Bill Chadwick (Chief Scientist-Geologist/Oregon State Universtiy-CIMRS): I became interested in studying volcanoes when I was a junior in college, Mount St. Helens erupted and that really grabbed my interest.  After college, I got a job working at Mount St. Helens with the U.S. Geological Survey, and I've been hooked on volcanoes ever since. I majored in Geology at Colorado College, then got a PhD in Geology at University of California at Santa Barbara. Scott Nooner and I have been tracking the up & down movements of the seafloor related to Axial Seamount's eruption cycle.  During this cruise we're going to find out more about what happened during its most recent eruption in April 2015, and we'll be trying to anticipate what it's going to do next.
Jesse Crowell (Videographer/Oregon State Universtiy-CIMRS): I studied Journalism at the University of Oregon and gained an interest in visual storytelling (photography, videography) and writing. I love the idea of mixing scientific communication with storytelling and the human element of research led me to the Axial Seamount trip. My Journalism degree combined with personal and work experience in visual communication prepared me for my work documenting the scientific work that is going on throughout this research cruise. I'm interested in learning about the people that are passionately dedicated to this type of research and they're findings.
Matt Fowler (Moorings/Oregon State Universtiy-CIMRS): I work with NOAA's Acoustic Monitoring Program and am the technician recovering and deploying subsurface instrumentation for the science party. I have a B/S in Oceanography with a minor in Computer Information Systems. I'm interested in the data obtained by our Ocean Bottom Hydrophone (OBH) situated in Axial caldera. I'm involved with the NOAA/OSU development of hydrophones used to acoustically monitor remote locations for biological, geologic, and anthropogenic activity. In this case, the OBH was acoustically monitoring seismic activity.
Jim Holden (Microbioloy/University of Massachusettes): My role on this cruise is to study the high-temperature microbes living off of the chemicals coming from the volcano in the absence of light and oxygen. I became interested in this area of research because I am fascinated that life could exist in such a harsh environment. Hydrothermal vents seem so foreign compared to most other Earth environments, but life below the surface of the Earth is quite common. I earned a B.S., an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Oceanography, and then worked as a biochemist for 7 years at the University of Georgia before becoming a professor of microbiology at UMass Amherst. From this cruise, I am most interested in learning more about different microorganisms like different chemicals and environmental conditions to live in.  I'm trying to figure out where certain types of microorganisms are living, what they are doing, and how they affect the chemistry and ecology of hydrothermal vents.
Ben Larson (Chemistry/University of Washington-JISAO) My role in the cruise is to prepare, deploy, and operate a novel seafloor incubator; analyze fluid samples for H2 and CH4; test a new Raman spectroscopy-based O2 sensor, and process in-situ pH and O2 sensor data. These instruments and sensors are all geared towards defining the chemical milieu that shapes the world beneath the seafloor. This field of research is only a little over 30 years old! I was drawn to the world of deep-sea vents, where the temperatures are scorching, the pressures are skull crushing, and the interactions are of tectonic proportions. When new crust is formed from magma at the bottom of the ocean, it is quenched by the overlying seawater (like a blacksmith dunking hot iron into a tub full of water), and as a result, this water is heated to temperatures in excess of 350°C, hot enough to boil at the bottom of the ocean! I have a B.S. in chemistry from Ohio State, and M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from University of Washington. I hope that the chemical data from this and previous cruises will help to define and constrain these models because this is ultimately the best chance we have at visualizing what goes on in parts of the Earth that are otherwise beyond our reach.
Susan Merle (Data Management/Oregon State University-CIMRS): My specialty is seafloor mapping.  I perform surface differencing on seafloor grids to determine whether or not there have been changes in the volcanoes we visit, such as landslides, eruptions, etc. I will be logging the Jason dive information, compiling sample lists, dive logs, Jason navigation, and creating maps using GIS, of our dives. After the expedition Andra Bobbitt and myself will compile a cruise report of the expedition. I became interested in this area of research through my interest in fishing. I originally wanted to fish in Alaska many years ago and was informed that a gal from the Midwest knew nothing about the ocean.  I went on to achieve a degree in Oceanography, with an emphasis in geology and geophysics from University of Washington.  Recently I went back to school and received a graduate certificate in Geographic Information  Science from Oregon State University. We have been observing changes at Axial volcano for decades.  In my 18 years with the program we have observed 3 eruptions at Axial. Our group is focusing on inflation and deflation of Axial caldera to predict future eruptions.
Scott Nooner (Geology/University of North Carolina): My work takes me to interesting parts of the world, and I get to meet interesting people, and study fascinating natural processes using cool instruments and tools. I have a B.A. and M.S. in Physics and a PhD in Geophysics. From this cruise, I am most interested in learning more about the magma dynamics driving the behavior of the volcano and being able to see what happened in the April 2015 eruption.
Jenny Paduan (AUV multibeam/MBARI): I will be processing bathymetry mapping data collected by the AUV Sentry, ROV Jason, and the ship. I will also assist with the Jason ROV dives and collecting lava samples of the 2015 flows. Developments in ROV sampling capabilities and AUV's, mapping sonars, and processing software have opened the door to using these amazing technologies in novel and challenging ways. We now can make geologic field maps and deduce the eruptive histories of seamounts and spreading ridges like geologists can do at volcanoes on land, but which is unprecedented for volcanoes in the deep sea. My degrees are in biochemistry and biological oceanography, but serendipity steered me toward marine geology and I am happily working on submarine volcanoes. I have a lot of experience with deep sea submersible dives, working with video, expedition and samples data from the dives, processing multibeam sonar data, and real-time navigation of vehicles, spatial analysis of data, and making maps using GIS (geographic information systems) software. We will be repeating a survey pattern over the summit made several times since 2006 by the MBARI Mapping AUV, from which we can determine the amount of deformation (inflation or deflation) of the volcano year to year, to understand the magmatic plumbing system and try to predict when it might erupt again. We will be mapping at high resolution the lava flows erupted in April 2015 and collecting samples of the lavas. We want to know how vigorous and large this eruption was, how it compares with the 2011 and 1998 eruptions, and how the lava chemistry differs from those eruptions and changed through this eruption.
Emily Reddington (Microbiology/Marine Biological Laboratory): My role during the cruise is collect diffuse vent fluids and conduct experiments that identify the active members of the microbial communities. Working in the Huber Lab at the MBL gives me a chance to combine my Master's work in Evolutionary Biology and Systematics, my undergraduate study of Marine Biology, and my work aboard the R/V Vantuna. My first introduction to deep water research was as a student in Mrs. Narishkin's 4th grade class. Way back in 1989 we went to the Museum of Science in Boston and participated in a telepresence cruise via live satellite feed of a Jason and Alvin dive into Lake Ontario to explore ships from the war of 1812. Our goals are not only to continue the work we have been doing with Stable Isotope Probing and estimating rates of Autotrophy and Heterotrophy in the microbial communities at known Axial vents, but also to apply these techniques to potential new vents created by the recent eruption. 
Kevin Roe (Chemistry/University of Washington-JISAO)
Glenn Sasagawa (Geophysics/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Rachel Spietz (CTD Operations/University of Washington-JISAO): I am assisting with CTD operations as well as collecting water samples to characterize the microbial communities inhabiting hydrothermal vents and plumes. I became interested in extremophile microbes while conducting undergraduate research in the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. The abilities of these microbes to exist and thrive in what we consider to be an extreme environment is fascinating to me. I graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and participated in research exploring the ecology and evolution of microbes in hot spring environments and glaciers. After working for a year as a research associate at Montana State, I moved to Seattle for graduate school at the University of Washington earning a Master’s degree in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences exploring the diversity of bacteria in a hypoxic estuary, Hood Canal. Now, I am in the middle of research for my PhD in Oceanography at the UW investigating the role of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in nutrient and energy cycling. I am most interested in learning about the vent systems and seeing them first-hand through ROV Jason. It will be exciting to see the new lava flows and aftermath of the April eruption in the caldera.
Rachel Teasdale (Geology-Teacher/California State University-Chico): I am a geologist and am coordinating this blog educational outreach to classrooms during this cruise. We are doing Skype calls to classrooms throughout the cruise, answering questions from blog visitors (see the link to Questions/Answers in the More Information at right). My interest in volcanology comes from a university GE course I took, along with fieldwork at volcanoes around the world – I enjoy my work so much that I want to share it with students of all ages. My educational and professional background includes BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Geology, with teaching and research at universities since 2001. From this cruise, I am most interested in learning more about the young lava flows of the 2015 and 2011 eruptions at Axial Volcano and the inflation-deflation cycles that the volcano goes through as magma moves through the system. I’m also fascinated by the diverse areas of research going on during this cruise and look forward to learning more about the chemistry, and microbiology work being done at Axial – particularly to help share those areas of research with students and others following the cruise on our blog and through Skype calls.
Begum Topcuoglu (Microbioloy/University of Massachusettes): My role during the cruise is to study the physiology of the microbes we sample from Axial Seamount. These microbes are fascinating because they live at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen and sunlight. I have a B.S in Bioengineering and currently doing a PhD in Microbiology. It is very exciting to explore an environment like this and to try figuring out how microbes adapt to it with many collaborators from different fields. I'm most interested in how different types of microbes interact with one another. This year we planned some experiments to study cooperation among microbes.
Ryan Wells (Engineer/University of Washington-JISAO): My work on this cruise is to assist with Hot Fluid Sampler, ROV interfacing, and electronics troubleshooting. I worked offshore as a a survey engineer for 6 years before signing on with NOAA, In which time I got to see and do some pretty amazing things. I worked at the Deepwater Horizon site after the oil spill; I helped build wind-farms off the coast of Denmark; I surveyed the Lusitania wreck site in Ireland; and I even worked as a treasure hunter in the English Channel. I've always been fascinated by everything that has to do with the ocean and marine technology. I love coming up with new ideas to help in our understanding of the complex interactions that shape the under-sea environment. I want to learn more about the micro-organisms are capable of living in the hydrothermal vents.
Ship Marine Technicians:
Brandi Murphy, University of Washington
Jen Nomura, University of Washington

Jason and Sentry:

Tito Collasius
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason/Lead
Jefferson Grau
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Scott Hansen
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Chris Judge
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Chris Lathan Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Scott McCue
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Jim Pelowski
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Ben Tradd
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Jim Varnum
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Korey Verhein
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Jason
Dana Yoerger
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sentry/Lead
Zachary Berkowitz
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sentry
Justin Fujii
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sentry
Loral O'Hara
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sentry
Stefano Suman
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sentry