Mission Plan
Mission Plan



Eye in the Sea

Dark Hilltop Gardens
Dark Hilltop Gardens

Low Light Imaging & Vision
Low Light Imaging & Vision



Bioluminescence 2009 Explorers

Jamie BaldwinJamie Baldwin
Graduate Student
Duke University

Jamie Baldwin is a graduate student at Duke University in the laboratory of Dr. Sönke Johnsen. She has a BS in biology from Illinois State University, and plans to graduate in 2011 with a PhD also in biology. She is currently studying visual cues in a group of swimming crabs, Callinectes, and is particularly interested in the effects of water turbidity and available light on the transmission of visual communication. This research cruise will be her second, and she will be collecting swimming crabs, documenting body patterns and coloration, and photographing individuals collected for later use. Baldwin will also be assisting Dr. Johnsen with scuba and submersible operations.

Gabby Barbarite Gabby Barbarite
Graduate Student
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution/Florida Atlantic University

Gabby Barbarite is graduate student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) under the direction of Dr. Tammy Frank. She has always been interested in marine biology and has a passion for shark research. She is a scuba instructor and enjoys underwater photography. She is very interested in conservation and informing the public of our impacts on the marine environment. While working on her bachelor's degree, she worked in the FAU Elasmobranch Lab studying shark and ray sensory systems. Upon graduation in 2008, Barbarite began working as a laboratory teaching assistant at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. She will begin her master's research on shark vision this fall.

Brian Cousin Brian Cousin
Video Production Specialist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

Brian Cousin has been the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) video production specialist since 1993. A veteran of both Operation Deep Scope 2004 and 2005, he joins Bioluminescence 2009 to provide high-definition video and photo documentation, and to serve as correspondent for HBOI's own mission Web site, @sea (www.at-sea.org). Cousin's video footage has been included in television documentaries produced around the world. He has also produced award-winning video programming for HBOI, including a collaboration with Dr. Edith Widder entitled Marine Bioluminescence: Secret Lights in the Sea, and a 28-minute program for the Research Channel entitled Corals at the Crossroads: The True Life Adventures of Doc Ford, which chronicles the work of HBOI researcher Dr. Brian Lapointe. An HBOI scuba diver, Cousin's experience ranges from cave-diving to blue water diving

Tamara FrankTamara Frank, PhD
Expedition Chief Scientist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution/Florida Atlantic University

Tamara Frank received her PhD degree in aquatic biology from the University of California–Santa Barbara, working on the visual ecology of deep-sea crustaceans. She completed post-doctoral fellowships in neurobiology at the University of Connecticut Medical School and Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon, before returning to the deep-sea world on a post-doctoral fellowship at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) in 1992. Discovering that Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. that met her temperature requirements, she has been at HBOI ever since.

Most of Dr. Frank's research has been on the visual ecology of pelagic (water column) animals, studying how light affects their daytime distribution patterns, how it triggers their vertical migrations at night, and how their photosensitivity correlates to their daytime depth distributions. Recently, she has started working on the (sometimes enormous) eyes of benthic (living on the bottom) animals, using the unique collection capabilities of the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible to enable her, for the first time ever, to collect deep-sea benthic crustaceans with intact eyes. Several earlier cruises provided tantalizing evidence that the eyes of these bottom dwellers may be adapted for seeing bioluminescence, but very little is known about benthic bioluminescence. Hopefully that will change after this cruise!

Dr. Frank's work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the NOAA National Undersea Research Program, and the NOAA Ocean Exploration program. She has been chief scientist on 60 research cruises, and participated on 30 more as a lucky hitchhiker, conducting work in the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Maine, and off the coasts of Florida, Hawaii, California, the Bahamas, the Canary Islands, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Samoa. For more information, visit http://www.fau.edu/hboi/OceanExploration/VisualEcology.php exit icon. External Link

Susan GottfriedSusan Gottfried
Project Manager
General Dynamics Information Technology

Susan Gottfried is an employee of General Dynamics Information Technology at the NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center. She has been responsible for providing end-to-end data management solutions for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research since May 2004. Gottfried participated in the Operation Deep Scope 2005 expedition as a data manager. On this 2009 expedition, she will be responsible for overseeing the data management activities and will also be responsible for expedition content on the Ocean Explorer Web site. She has a BS in computer science from Louisiana State University.

Steven HaddockSteven Haddock, PhD
Research Scientist
Bioluminescence and Zooplankton
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Steve Haddock is a research scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and an adjunct associate professor in the Ocean Sciences Department at the University of California–Santa Cruz. His work focuses on bioluminescence, biodiversity, and ecology of deep-sea and open-ocean ctenophores, siphonophores, radiolarians, and medusae (also known as gelatinous zooplankton). In addition to assembling phylogenies for these groups, he is interested in cloning novel photoproteins and fluorescent proteins from them. Haddock's educational background includes a BS from Harvey Mudd College and a PhD from the University of California–Santa Barbara.

Erika Heine RaymondErika Heine Raymond, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Dr. Erika Raymond is a postdoctoral fellow in the engineering division at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. She completed her master's degree in biology at California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo and her doctorate in oceanography at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research interests involve the development of novel non-destructive methods for the sampling and observation of sensitive species in extreme and remote environments. She has been part of numerous oceanographic expeditions and has conducted research out of Hopkins Marine Station, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, and Ocean Research & Conservation Association. Most recently Dr. Raymond has been working on an autonomous tissue sampler for deep-sea fishes.

Sönke JohnsenSönke Johnsen, PhD
Associate Professor
Duke University

Sönke Johnsen is an associate professor in the biology department at Duke University. He studies the effect of light on oceanic organisms, in particular how animals hide from predators and prey in the open sea. His work combines field studies on oceanic research cruises with microscopy and mathematical modeling of light propagation through tissue and water. He is particularly interested in various forms of crypsis, such as whole body transparency, cryptic coloration, reflectivity, and bioluminescence. Other interests include the use of UV and polarization vision as camouflage breakers. He holds a BA in mathematics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ryan KeithRyan Keith
Mississippi State University

Ryan Keith is a junior at Mississippi State University majoring in biology with an emphasis in marine science. He plans to be a marine biologist, but is still undecided as to the exact discipline he wants to study. He has spent the summer working with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) through an internship with the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium. Bioluminescence 2009 will be Keith's first research cruise. While onboard, he will be acting as the OER Data Manager.

Angela LewisAngela Lewis
Science Teacher
Marine Oceanographic Academy

Angie Lewis is a teacher at Marine Oceanographic Academy in Ft. Pierce, Florida. She is participating in the Teacher at Sea program in cooperation with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. She is interested in the chemistry of bioluminescence and in developing lessons to increase student interest in marine science careers. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and is currently pursing her master’s degree at Argosy University.

Charles MessingCharles G. Messing
Nova Southeastern University

Charles G. Messing received a bachelor's degree in biological science at Rutgers University, where he also ran track, hosted a classical music radio program, and shared duties at football games during his senior year as the Scarlet Knight. After graduating in 1970, he earned both his master's (1975, under Frederick M. Bayer) and doctorate (1979, under Harding Owre Michel) degrees in biological oceanography at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. During that time, he accompanied several deep-sea dredging and coral reef research expeditions around the Caribbean and eastern Pacific, including one that successfully dredged the 8,300-meter-deep floor of the Puerto Rico Trench. That led to his first research paper, a description of the deepest known Atlantic crustacean, Neotanais persephone, which he named for the ancient Greek goddess of the underworld. A Smithsonian post-doctoral research fellowship with David Pawson followed, and he has been at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center since 1988. His area of particular expertise is the classification, ecology, distribution and evolution of crinoids (sea lilies and feather stars), and his research on these animals has taken him to the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Micronesia, Australia, and Malaysia. He headed teams that were the first to directly record growth rates and crawling in stalked crinoids.

Since 1975, he has used research submersibles, including both Alvin and Johnson-Sea-Link, to study the distribution and ecology of deep-water marine life, and he has also held a series of visiting scientist appointments at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Some of his recent work also focuses on the ecology, diversity and distribution of deep-sea coral reefs. He is a scientific illustrator, teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses.

Alison SweeneyAlison Sweeney, PhD
Research Scientist
University of California–Santa Barbara

Dr. Alison Sweeney is a research scientist at the University of California (UCSB)–Santa Barbara. Before that, she was a graduate student with Sönke Johnsen at Duke University, studying the evolution and optics of squid lenses. With the Morse group at UCSB, she studies novel soft photonic phenomena in invertebrates. She investigates the biochemistry of squid skin and its dynamic iridescent properties, the bright colors in giant clams and nudibranch sea slugs, and the dynamic properties of light in the ocean that have contributed to the evolution of these colors. On the Bioluminescence 2009 cruise, she will be studying the dynamic aspects of open ocean and shallow reef light, and any interesting iridescent animals we are able to collect.

Edith A. WidderEdith A. Widder, PhD [ microphone OceanAGE profile ]
Deep-sea Explorer
Co-founder, President & Senior Scientist
Ocean Research & Conservation Association
Ft. Pierce, Florida

Dr. Edith “Edie” Widder is a biologist and deep-sea explorer who is applying her expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation. She received her BS in biology from Tufts University, and then earned her MS in biochemistry and a PhD in neurobiology from University of California–Santa Barbara. Two years after completing her PhD, Dr. Widder became certified as a scientific research pilot for Atmospheric Diving Systems. She is qualified to dive the deep diving suit WASP, as well as the single-person untethered submersibles Deep Rover and Deep Worker; she has made over 250 dives in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles. Her research involving submersibles has been featured in BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic television

A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), Dr. Widder has helped to design and invent new submersible instrumentation and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observations. Most recently, she created a remotely operated deep-sea camera system, known as Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS), which detects and measures the bioluminescence of nearby organisms. EITS has produced footage of rare sharks, jellyfish, and discovered a new species of large squid (over six feet in length), all in their natural habitats. Widder and EITS were recently featured on the Discovery Channel series Midwater Mysteries and PBS’s NOVA ScienceNOW.

In 2005, Dr. Widder resigned from her 16 year post at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution to co-found the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of marine ecosystems and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action. In 2006, Widder was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.