Where are you from and what is your role in Extreme 2002?
My name is Hepsi Zsoldos (yes, that's my real name) and I'm from Newark, Delaware. I have a master's degree in marine science from the University of South Florida, and I am currently teaching eighth-grade Earth science in the Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware.
During Extreme 2002, my role will be as education coordinator. Jen Costanza and I will be your on-board cruise directors. We know that it's not possible to take students along on the cruise, but we're going to do our best to make you feel as if you are with us every step of the way. I'll be taking pictures and video aboard the cruise and sending them back to be placed on the Web site. I'll also be writing, along with some of the scientists and crew, the daily journal, or ship's log. This is a summary about the events of the day (what goes on aboard the ship, how was the Alvin dive, what did they bring back, what did we eat that day). It's all going to be there for you to read. I'm also going to be responding to participants' e-mail, so make sure you send us your questions! We'll do our very best to answer as many as we can.
I've always been intrigued with hydrothermal vent systems. I remember thinking that the giant tubeworms and the vent clams looked like something from Star Trek they were too odd to be real, they could only be science fiction. But here are these unique creatures, surviving in this toxic environment where no life should be, and they're thriving.
I was hooked. I thought vent systems were the coolest thing going in ocean research and have made teaching these unique systems a priority in my classroom. We also spend a lot of time thinking about what llife would be like on other planets. My students and I wonder, if life such as this can exist on our planet, right at the bottom of our ocean, what might life look like on some of the moons in our solar system? Are hydrothermal vent systems the key to life on this planet as well as a model for life on others? It's an iintriguing question that beguiles my students.
I'm hoping to learn as much about the unique creatures in these systems as possible while on this cruise. I'm also hoping to be able to study the chemistry of the water coming out of the chimneys since it's this toxic "soup" that is the source of energy in these ecosystems.