Dr Jon Copley is a marine biologist from the University of Southampton and expedition Principal Scientist. He is investigating the patterns of life at undersea vents to understand how species disperse and evolve in the deep ocean, which covers most of our planet.
Visit Jon's very own personal JC082 blog plus our media page to explore the additional blogs for this expedition.
Paul is Professor of Deep-Sea Biology at the University of Southampton and a co-Principal Investigator on the Cayman project. Recently he has been PI on the programme ‘Chemosynthetic ecosystems south of the Polar Front: Ecology and Biogeography’ and Chief Scientist on the "Hot Vents, Cold Ocean" JC080 expedition. Paul has 35-years experience working in the deep-sea having participated in over 60 cruises and completed over 80 submersible dives. His particular interest is reproduction in deep-sea animals but also the mechanisms that establish and maintain their populations. He has worked on hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, cold-water coral reefs, abyssal plains and in submarine canyons in all oceans of the world and was CoPI on the first UK ROV exploration in Antarctica.
Bram is a geologist who studies the ocean crust. Continuously regenerated by volcanic activity along the crest of the 70,000 kilometres of mid-ocean ridges, the ocean crust forms three quarters of the Earth’s solid surface. On this voyage, Bram is leading the investigation into seafloor mineral deposits. These are formed as superheated seawater reacts with lava deep below the seafloor, dissolving metals on its way, and precipitates them as valuable sulphide ore minerals when the fluids return to the surface. The challenges on this voyage are to understand how two processes affect the composition of the ore minerals: the enormous pressure at the Beebe Vent Field (the deepest known) and the effects of the unusual type of basement rock at the Von Damm Vent Field.
Jeff is a geochemist - he studies trace element cycling in hydrothermal systems as part of his PhD at the University of Southampton. He originally grew up near Cambridge and studied Chemistry at the University of Bristol. This cruise, he’ll be focussing on the carbon cycle in the hydrothermal plumes and diffusive areas that we encounter. He'll also be looking at how vent sourced metals affect the dissolved organic matter. In his spare time, Jeff will be entertaining the ship with his excellent guitar playing.
Alistair is a PhD student at the University of Southampton, aiming to characterise the exchanges of iron between vent fluids, particles and sediments. He will collect samples for isotopic analyses and nano-scale observations of iron minerals. Knowledge of which, will instruct our view of hydrothermal system couplings to ocean productivity around the world.
|Dr Tim Le Bas|
Tim is a sonar geophysicist from NOC. He is a specialist in processing sonar data and underwater images. He is handling the multibeam bathymetry and backscatter sonar data and developing the Geographic Information System (GIS) database as the expedition progresses.
Leigh is a marine ecologist in the final year of her PhD studying at the University of Southampton, based at the National Oceanography Centre. There are two main research focuses to Leigh’s PhD, working with ROV HD video footage to create image mosaics of entire chimneys to investigate the patterns and distributions of animals living at the hydrothermal vents. On this expedition, she will be using ROV-based acoustic systems (multibeam echosounders) to create detailed bathymetric maps of the vent fields and their surroundings. Combined with information derived from the video recordings, this will allow the science team to get a good idea of which biological communities live where in relation to the chimneys and areas of diffuse flow. In addition, the maps form the basis for ROV dive planning and the identification of sampling sites. All of Leigh’s previous expeditions have been in colder climes, so she is looking forward to some sunshine!
Diva is a final-year PhD student jointly based at the University of Southampton and the Natural History Museum, London. Her PhD is on the weird and wonderful animals found living on whale skeletons and dead trees in the deep sea, and also how they interact with their unique habitat and with each other. On this voyage, Diva will be deploying two pig carcasses, Petunia and Princess, as well as, some wood and whale bone experiments on the deep-sea floor to investigate what comes to eat and live on these unique habitats. Diva will quite at home on this voyage as she grew up on the sunny hot isles of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.
Will is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Southampton who measures and simulates chemical exchanges between rocks and seawater. He joins the Chemistry team to explore how hot venting fluids deep inside the Cayman Trough release metal micronutrients essential to life in our oceans.
Veit is a Marine Geologist at NOC, who previously visited this site in 2010 piloting the HyBIS vehicle with Bramley. Veit's interests while aboard are in seabed mapping and ground truthing in order to make new and updated maps. He will also help Tim with cleaning the vast amounts of new multibeam data, and help Bram with sampling. In addition, Veit will lend a hand wherever needed during the trip.
Verity is a PhD student at the University of Southampton investigating the taxonomy, life-history biology and biogeography of hydrothermal-vent fauna. She was part of the team that discovered the Cayman vents in 2010 and returned to the Beebe and Von Damm vent fields with American colleagues last year. She has described several new species from Cayman vents and is currently working on the reproductive ecology of the vent shrimp. Verity is particularly excited about investigating symbiont acquisition in the vent shrimp and changes in the distribution of Cayman vent fauna over space and time.
Steve is a geologist at the University of Southampton with a particular interest in the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits of base and precious metals.
|Matthew Hodgkinson |
Matt is interested in the two Mid-Cayman Rise vent sites because of the differences in host rock and seawater depth between the two sites. The Von Damm Vent Field has a unique composition and morphology as it predominantly consists of the magnesium silicate mineral talc. Mg is generally sequestered into secondary minerals during hydrothermal circulation so the presence of a 110 metre across, 75 metre high mound consisting of approximately 30 wt% magnesium has implications for water-rock interactions and geochemical cycles. It is also thought to be hosted in ultramafics (high Mg and Fe-bearing rocks), which have a different chemistry to rocks that usually host hydrothermal vent sites. This generates different fluid compositions that in the case of the Von Damm Vent Field lead to the precipitation of unusual minerals at the seafloor.
|Rachel Mills |
Rachel is a Professor of Ocean Chemistry from the University of Southampton. She is working with the team of chemists on board to measure the chemical fluxes at the Cayman Trough vent sites and understand the fate of these metals in the ocean.
|Valerie Chavagnac |
After a Ph.D. in Geology, Valerie spent 7 years at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton where she moved her research interest towards deep-sea hydrothermal systems. In 2007, she joined the Geosciences Environment Toulouse (France) as a CNRS researcher. She is a geochemist working on the chemical composition of high temperature hydrothermal fluid/gases collected in the deep-sea. The chemical compositions of these fluids provide direct hints on the nature of the alterated substratum, the seawater percolation pathways linked with gases production and/or consumption, and chemical fluxes between the lithosphere and the hydrosphere.
Alain is an engineer working for the CNRS at the Geosciences Environment Toulouse (France). He is manager of an experimental laboratory designed to mimic natural environmental conditions in high pressure and high temperature autoclaves. On this expedition he will sample high temperature hydrothermal fluids in the deep-sea and extract dissolved gasses.
Adrian is a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. He will be focussing on the polychaetes, segmented marine worms that are very abundant and diverse in the deep sea. One of the most famous of all deep sea species is a polychaete - the giant tubeworm that is found at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific. However, their is a wealth of undescribed species in the smaller animals that are often overlooked, so we will be working hard to pick through the samples collected by the ROV to find these.
Find out more by following Adrian's Tweets and photo blog.
I'm interested in what these modern mineralising systems can tell us about ancient mineral deposits we find on land today. Because these vents are the deepest and some of the hottest ever discovered, the way metals move around in the system could be quite different to most of the systems previously studied. By understanding this system better it may help us find and identify similar mineral deposits that formed millions of years ago but have since been uplifted onto continental land masses.
|Andrew David Thaler |
Andrew is a post-doctoral researcher at the Duke University Marine Lab. He studies gene flow and connectivity of populations of deep-sea hydrothermal vent species. On this cruise, he is looking at the connectivity of species shared between von Damm and Beebe vent sites.
Pete has worked on very large submarine landslide deposits offshore from volcanic islands, including four research cruises offshore Montserrat. He leads the Submarine Geohazards Research Group at the NOC.
|For this expedition, we have the engineering team aboard who operate the UK's deep-diving remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Isis, and technicians from UK National Marine Facilities who support the other equipment that we are using.|