Meet the research team from Hawaii

Meet the research team from Hawaii:

Dr. Craig Smith, Principal Investigator. I am a professor of oceanography
at the University of Hawaii and one of the leaders of the Antarctic
project (called FOODBANCS 2). I am studying how the communities of marine
animals and bacteria in the Antarctic are responding to climate warming.
Our study area along the Antarctic
Peninsula is warming faster than anywhere in the world, and the amazing
ecosystems there are changing very quickly. I also work in tropical
intertidal habitats (for example, mangroves in Hawaii) and on seafloor
communities in the very deep ocean (deeper than 4000 m or 2.5 miles) in
other parts of the world. The differences between Hawaiian and Antarctic
ecosystems are especially interesting because Hawaiian waters have
"summer" conditions year round, whereas the Antarctic has the harshest
winters on the earth. Those of us living in Hawaii love to suit in the
heavy Antarctic gear and venture out into the Antarctic cold -- it our
only chance to see some snow and ice!

Dr. Sarah Mincks. I'm a University of Alaska International Polar Year
Post-doctoral Fellow. I'm interested in seafloor ecology, including
reproduction and biodiversity patterns in invertebrates. I'm also working
in the Arctic for the next couple years, and hope to be able to make some
comparisons between how sediment organisms at both poles make their
"living" in a highly seasonal, low-temperature environment. On this trip,
one of the things I hope to do is get some animals to spawn, and raise the
larvae in the lab to describe the development. I will also be collecting
tissue samples from various organisms so I can use DNA to look at their
population structure and evolutionary history. More info about me can be
found on my website at

Dr. Liz Galley. I have just joined Craig Smiths lab at the University of
Hawaii as a Post-doctoral researcher working on the Foodbancs project. I
am interested in researching how seafloor animals respond to a variable
food supply in terms of their reproduction, feeding and composition of
their body tissues. I have previously looked at how these ecological
processes vary with a highly seasonal food supply, as we find in the
Antarctic. On this cruise we are looking at how these processes may be
affected by climate change. I will be dissecting alot of the animals from
the seabed trawl and describing the gut and feeding tentacle structure,
and storing the gonads for weight measurements. We also plan to analyse
some of the body tissues to measure energy content and determine main food
sources. As well as the internal biology of these animals I am also
interested in the dynamics of larval development and how this may be
affected by climate change, such as changes in temperature and ocean

Dr. Andrew Sweetman. Hi, my name is Andrew Sweetman and I'm a
post-doctoral scientist at the University of Hawaii. Back at UH, I look
at how marine invertebrates living in shallow and deep-sea sediments alter
the chemistry of these sediments and vice versa. On this cruise, I'll be
helping collect corals for DNA analysis to look at their population
structure, as well as setting up and using the two deep-sea camera systems
we have on board to see how certain animals (e.g. sea cucumbers) living at
the deep-sea floor behave and feed.

Dr. Rhian Waller. I'm a new faculty member at the School of Ocean and
Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii and arrived there
just five weeks ago coming from my postdoc at the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution. My research focuses on looking at the ecology of cold-water
corals in extreme environments - like the Antarctic - and how they are
affected by stress such as climate changes and anthropogenic impacts. My
projects on this cruise involve collecting coral samples from trawls and
looking at their DNA to examine the population structure down the
peninsula (and comparing them to corals living on seamounts in the Drake
Passage and on the Chilean and Argentinian shelf from another project),
looking at how these corals reproduce using histology and TEM analysis,
and also collecting brooded larvae to look at larval behavior and skeleton
formation. I'll also be taking water samples to look at the aragonite
saturation of the water they live in to try and find out how these corals
are making their skeletons in such cold water, and how that would be
affected by ocean warming.

Fabio De Leo. I am a PhD student at University of Hawaii working with
Deep-Sea invertebrate communities. These animals (from very tiny
polychaete worms up to bigger shrimps, seastars, corals, etc) live in the
seafloor and represent important food resources for many fish species that
are exploited commercially around the world. Also, they represent one of
the largest reservoirs of the marine biodiversity (~70% of all marine
species lives in the bottom of the oceans). Thus, it is really important
to study them and preserve the ecosystem where they live.
In this current cruise here in Antarctica I am helping prof. Craig Smith
and other scientists to study how this ‘climate change’ that we hear all
the time in the news will affect marine ecosystems. We know that global
warming is already affecting how the oceans function and also that many
marine species are severely endangered. However, we still need to
investigate how the ocean warming and the melting of ice in the Antarctic
for example will affect the bottom of the ocean and the animals that live
there. You will find more about my research and interests at Come aboard with us…

Pavica Srsen. I am a graduate student at the Department of Oceanography at
the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Within this project, I am primarily
interested in how the biodiversity changes with changes of the latitude. I
will be looking at the macrofaunal and megafaunal community composition at
the seafloor at different latitudes along the Antarctic Peninsula. I hope
to see some biodiversity patterns coupled with sea ice duration which
could help us to predict the changes in the seafloor communities as a
result of global warming.

Angelo Bernardino. Hello everyone, I am a graduate student from Brazil but
currently I am working at University of Hawaii with Dr. Craig Smith. My
research focuses on ecology of communities that live at whale carcasses
that sink to the bottom of the ocean after they die. To study them, we
sink the carcasses to the bottom and them visit the study site at several
times to see what animals are living there. I am also comparing the
animals colonizing these whale falls with other deep-sea (below 1500
meters depth) communities, to see if any organisms utilize these whales as
"islands" to disperse across large ocean basins such as the Pacific Ocean.
In this cruise, I will be mainly involved in the analysis of microbial
communities in the sediment, to see how microbial organisms respond to the
latitudinal gradient on food input and ice duration. If you would like to
ask anything about my work or this cruise, I will be happy to answer you!
Aloha, Angelo.

Karin Lutke Elbers. I'm a Masters student from University of São Paulo -
Brazil. I'm interested in seafloor ecology and in this cruise I will help
on the sampling process. I'm working with the macrofauna from the first
Foodbancs project and now I hope to sort some animals to make some
comparisions between the periods and stations. More info about my
laboratory can be found at:

1 Comment:

  1. Clayton said...
    Liked this one called Karin. When she comes back, i might ask her... out! For starter!

    Luv u honey! Enjoy your trip! And good luck to all!

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