Education and Public Engagement
Faculty, LDEO (Leg 2)
I am a marine geophysicist studying the hydrology of mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems. One of my main interests is the interplay between physical and chemical processes in young ocean crust and the microbial biosphere living at and below the seafloor. I have focused my research on the flow of hydrothermal fluids because this flow serves to link many processes in these systems, including tectonic activity, magmatism, crustal alteration, and biological productivity.
To study these systems I develop numerical models, and I build seafloor instrumentation to verify model predictions and generate new hypotheses. I am currently developing a seafloor camera system that can measure flow rates in “black smoker” hydrothermal vents using optical image analysis. On this cruise I am testing a prototype version of the camera, called the VentCam. Using the OOI Regional Scale Nodes infrastructure, future versions of the VentCam will be deployed at many vents and across vent fields to help characterize the nature of hydrothermal fluid flow at many spatial and temporal scales. Long-term study of flow rates in these systems will provide critical new insights into how these systems exchange energy and mass with the overlying ocean, and how they support the diverse ecosystems that thrive in these environments.