I am from Arizona State University, and I work with Dr. Peggy O'Day. My research focuses on correlating microorganisms to specific conditions within hydrothermal vent chimneys. These conditions include physical structure, fluid dynamics, and mineralogy surrounding pore spaces. I use synchrotron X-ray tomography to create three-dimensional images of physical structure and mineralogy of chimneys at the microscale.What is your role in Extreme 2002?
My role in Extreme 2002 is to preserve microorganisms on chimney surfaces so that I can begin to determine what surfaces they are utilizing as habitats. Aqueous chemistry results will help me determine the degree of seawater-hydrothermal vent fluid mixing that is occurring within the chimneys, and therefore the aqueous environment surrounding microhabitats.Why is this research important?
The importance of this research on the grand scale is to evaluate these systems as a possible origin-of-life environment, but at the very least it is interesting to understand how microorganisms thrive in such extreme conditions.
Whats your educational background and what lured you into marine research?
I have a B.S. in biology from Kent State University and an M.S. in geology from Arizona State University. I am currently working on a Ph.D. at Arizona State University. I have always been intrigued with marine sciences because the marine world covers more than 70% of our Earth, and we have only touched the surface (or subsurface) of understanding what is really going on.