JR224: Chemosynthetic life in the Antarctic


Who's who in the scientific team

Rob Larter

Rob is a marine geophysicist and the Chief Scientist for JR224. He works for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and this is his fifteenth research cruise in the Southern Ocean. Rob led a British Antarctic Survey programme in the 1990s that surveyed the sea floor and studied the structure of the Earth’s crust in the region where we are now searching for vent sites. During a research cruise carried out as part of that programme ‘plumes’ of water originating from vents were discovered, but the precise locations of the vent sites have not previously been found. Rob has coordinated planning and preparations for JR224, and now at sea he organises the science and technical teams and liaises with the Captain and crew to make sure the science plan is delivered.

Paul Tyler

Paul Tyler is a Professor of deep sea biology at the University of Southampton, and his interests lie in all aspects of the deep-sea environment including margins, canyons, abyssal plains, corals, seeps and vents. During the cruise, he and the other biologists on board will be involved in searching for, sampling and identifying the creatures that live in the vents and seeps of the Southern Ocean.

Doug Connelly

Doug is a geochemist from NOCS who spends a lot of time at sea looking for exciting new vent sites. When he is not at sea he helps to develop chemical noses to sniff out the signals of vents over very long distances. In the past few years he has been to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans hunting for sites but this is his first time in Polar waters.

Eva Ramirez-Llodra

Eva is a deep-sea biologist working between NOCS (UK) and ICM-CSIC (Spain). Eva's main interests are on the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-water invertebrates and on the life-history patterns of these animals. Eva is also one of the coordinators of ChEss, with Maria Baker, and will be the contact between the public on land and the scientists and crew on board during this cruise.

Jon Copley  

As a marine ecologist, Jon Copley is interested in understanding the patterns of life in the oceans: why do we find one species in certain numbers in one place and another species in different numbers somewhere else?  Although this is a simple question, unravelling the different factors involved is very challenging.  So to tackle the problem, Jon studies and compares patterns in “islands” of marine life around volcanic vents on the ocean floor.  But first you have to find the deep-sea vents and map them, which is one of the goals of this expedition. When he needs a break from marine ecology, Jon enjoys running up muddy hills and failing to tire out a Jack Russell – neither of which he can do aboard the ship.

Alex Rogers

Alex studies the ecology, biodiversity and evolution of deep-sea ecosystems, especially cold-water coral reefs, seamounts, hydrothermal vents and seeps. He is particularly interested in patterns of species distribution in the deep sea and how these relate to biological and physical factors and the history of the oceans. An aspect of this work is identifying and predicting the impacts of human activities on deep-sea ecosystems and contributing to knowledge relevant to the conservation of deep-sea habitats and species.

Sarah Bennett

Sarah is a post doctoral research fellow at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.  She is currently involved in the development of in-situ chemical sensors and is keen to try these out in hydrothermal plumes.  Hopefully these systems will make finding the source of the plumes much easier!

Ana Hilario

Ana is a marine biologist at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and NOCS. Ana studies the ecology and taxonomy of tubeworms that live in chemosynthetic ecosystems; she is particularly interested in how these animals reproduce and disperse and how these can affect the distribution of the different species. Lately Ana has been mainly working with  tubeworms from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz, but the idea of finding new vent or seep sites, specially in a remote place like Antarctic region, couldn’t be more exciting!

David Owsianka

David is a new PhD student who has never been on a cruise before, and is worried that he may go crazy without any dry land to stand on.  With a degree in chemistry he works closely with engineers to make tiny automatic laboratories that measure nutrients important to life deep down in the sea.  The ultimate aim is to develop these to a point where they can be left undisturbed taking sensitive measurements for up to a year.

Alex Beaton

Alex is a PhD student from the University of Bristol who is currently working at NOCS developing in-situ biogeochemical sensors for icy ecosystems.  He is here to help deploy in situ chemical sensors for locating and studying hydrothermal plumes, and hopes to gain a greater understanding of the limitations of the current generation of chemical sensors.

Cédric Floquet

Cedric is a Research Engineer from the NOCS developing in situ biogeochemical sensors to measure trace metal and nutrients in seawater. He will spend most of his time soldering wires under bad weather and assembling microfluidic components to build two sensors: one to measure Manganese, the other to measure Phosphate. He is also here to make sure that David Owsianka and Alex Beaton survive the next 6 weeks at sea.

Alastair Graham

Ali is a marine geophysicist and geologist at the British Antarctic Survey, based in Cambridge. His day-to-day interests are in the geology and palaeoglaciology of former ice sheets, with an emphasis on reconstructing past ice flow in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet from marine data. For this cruise, Ali will be helping the JR224 team find and map out vent sites at the seabed, with the aid of JCR's sophisticated on board acoustic systems. He will turn these data into bathymetry maps, which the chemists and biologists can then use to help hone in on the source of the hydrothermal plumes.

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