What is your role during the Extreme 2004 expedition?
My goals during this expedition are to collect symbiont-hosting marine invertebrates (mussels, clams, and tubeworms) and substrates where the symbionts might be found outside their hosts (such as bits of chimneys). I will conduct molecular analyses to the bacterial genomes to infer the roles that host distribution, geography, deep-ocean currents, and tectonic activity have played in shaping the evolution and diversity of the endosymbionts.
Why did you choose this career, and how long have you been doing this? I've been a biologist as long as I can remember. So, I guess I didn't really choose to be one, I just was one. I decided to work on evolution and ecology of symbioses at vents because chemosynthetic bacteria and symbioses form the basis for life at the hydothermal vents, which are the least explored and most dynamic environments on Earth!
Tell us about the most interesting thing that has happened to you because of your work.
I think that the most interesting thing will happen on this cruise…going down in Alvin to see the vent communities first hand!
What do you like most about your job? Least?
The best parts of my job are exploring remote and exciting places, seeing new creatures, and trying to infer the historical events that led to their current distribution and diversity. As for the worst part, I don't know. It's all exciting.
What do you like most about going to sea? Least?
Since this is my first time going to sea and diving in Alvin, the best part is the anticipation and excitement of what it will be like. There really aren't any negatives.
How often do you go to sea?
This is my first time on a research vessel. I hope that I'll have many more research opportunities in the near future.
Do you ever get seasick? If so, how do you handle it?
How do you fill your free time aboard ship?
So far, I have been busy getting ready for the upcoming dives. I have spent the little free time that I have had exploring the Atlantis.
What's your favorite hobbie? Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite food?
I am a mountain climber and a surfer. My favorite movie is Jeremiah Johnson, but my favorite book is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. My favorite food is steamed crab, mmmm.
Where is the most exotic place you have been?
I've been to the Amazon rainforest, the glaciers of Patagonia, and atolls in the south Pacific. Each new place is equally exotic and intoxicating in its own way .
What one tip would you give to students interested in pursuing a career like yours?
The most important thing is to pursue whatever career you are most passionate about!