What questions are you trying to answer and why?
We are trying to understand the role of the microbial community
that lives in close association with Alvinella. A cDNA library
will provide us with a catalog of genes that are expressed by the
community and will give us a good idea of how the bacteria interact
with their environment, with each other, and with their host.
Why is this research important? What are the benefits?
The organisms that live at hydrothermal vents survive and even
thrive at extreme temperatures and pressures. We are interested
in how these organisms have adapted to this environment. From a
practical standpoint, cellular proteins (enzymes) that can withstand
these temperatures and pressures are important in industry.
What's your educational background and what lured you into marine
I have an A.S. degree in Biology from SUNY Morrisville, a B.S.
in chemistry from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry
from the University of Delaware. I have always been interested in
ocean life. Although most of my time is spent studying harmful algae
in coastal waters, Im lucky enough to work with people who
are involved in deep-sea research. And every once in a while, I
get invited to go along!