Meet The Scientists

Tanner Miller: A senior at DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, I am currently a summer student fellow working with Dr. Tracy Mincer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. I am a biochemistry major applying my background to the investigation of microbial quorum sensing.

Tracy Mincer, Co-Principal Investigator onboard, is an assistant scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. His current research interests include:
  • Determining in situ selective pressures on marine microorganisms
  • Elucidation of chemical communication and its role in coordinating microbial degradation of particles in the water column
  • Marine microbial natural products and their role in protist grazing deterrence and quorum sensing disruption
  • Use of heterologous expression techniques to determine heavy metal bio-transformation
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of the epibiont community of the bloom-forming cyanobacteria Trichodesmium

Personal Page:

Ben Van Mooy, Principal Investigator of the expedition, is an Associate Scientist in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  His current research interests include:

  • Rates of microbial carbon and phosphorus cycling in the sea
  • Microbial chemical communication and defense in marine biofilms
  • Biological cycling and molecular composition of microbial polar lipids
  • Marine algal biofuels
Personal page:

Laura Hmelo, a recent graduate of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, is currently a post-doc in the Van Mooy lab.  Her thesis focused on bacterial interactions on sinking particles.

Kim Popendorf, the Van Mooy lab's senior graduate student, studies heterotrophic bacteria in the oceans.  She has been an organizational powerhouse throughout cruise preparation - shipping boxes, tracking down chemicals, making travel arrangements,....  Kim ranks in humanity's  upper percentile of smiliness.
Justin Ossolinski is a lab tech in the Van Mooy lab.  When not coaching the WHOI Chemistry Department softball team, he enjoys fishing and golfing.
Laura Sofen: I graduated in June from Carleton College with a degree in chemistry.  I am a Summer Student Fellow at WHOI in Dr. Ben Van Mooy's lab investigating the molecules that bacteria use to signal each other in quorum sensing.

Michal Koblizek studies photoheterotrophic bacteria, which have the ability to photosynthesize or to consume other organisms.  The adjustment to the crazy sampling schedule should be no issue, as he is already confused by the time change from Czechoslovakia.

Isabel Ferrara is a post-doc in Barcelona at the Marine Institute, collaborating with Michal on the photoheterotrophic bacteria studies.

Eric Webb comes from USC for his second cruise aboard the KM.  His expedition outlook involves a lot of running around with bottles, collecting seawater to study vitamin production in marine bacteria.  He is also collecting Trichodesmium using net tows.

Emily Smail is a graduate student with Eric studying vitamins and nitrogen fixation.  Additionally, she is collecting samples for nickel addition experiments.

Lily Momper recently joined the Webb lab as a graduate student.  She is quite excited to have found Tricho in the first CTD cast of the cruise.

Solange Duhamel works for Dave Karl at UH, studying nutrient cycling from a biological point of view.

Noel Hakoda, an undergraduate at UH working in the Karl lab, returns to Station ALOHA for her second time this summer.

Karin Bjorkman, also from the Karl lab at UH, is an experienced Station ALOHA visitee.  Though she herself would not give a number, she is rumored to have been on more than 100 cruises here.

Georg Raber comes from Austria with the goal of filtering as much seawater as possible on his first oceanographic cruise.  He will bring samples back to his lab to analyze for arsenic-containing lipids and study arsenolipids' relation to the phosphate content of the water.

Rick Keil brings us his oceanographic expertise and his big nets, more technically called sediment traps.  In addition to being the master of catching sinking particles, he studies electron receptors of bacteria and their role in carbon degradation.

Brittany Kimball, a lab tech for Rick Keil, extracts spices and organic compounds usually found in cosmetics to see their persistence in the ocean.

Maxim Bridoux hails from France originally and comes to Hawaii by way of the Keil lab.

Anna Belcher recently graduated from the University of South Hampton and is excited to spend some time with the Keil lab on the KM.

Annie Thomson is a rising 3rd-year oceanography major at UW.  She has developed her sealegs during SEA Semester in Spring 2009.  On this cruise she is helping with the sediment traps.