The projects we are currently working on fall into multiple scientific
fields, including evolution, ecology, and marine biology. One of
our projects is to map the genome of the bacterial endosymbiont
of Riftia pachyptila, the giant tubeworm that is a major
inhabitant of deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities.
Another project we are involved in is to determine the metagenome
of another hydrothermal vent dweller, Alvinella pompejana,
or the Pompeii worm. Our work involves obtaining DNA sequences of
the bacterial community found along the backs of these worms. With
the help of other scientists on board, we will be doing the DNA
sequencing for this project in real-time during the Exteme 2001
cruise. I will serve as the resident expert on the MegaBACE, which
we will be running on board the ship. This is the first time scientists
have been able to gather a DNA sequence during a research cruise.
With the information provided through DNA sequences, scientists
will be able to make immediate decisions about upcoming Alvin
dives, making the entire cruise more sucessful.