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Meet the Team 2011

Steve W. Ross, PhDSteve W. Ross, PhD

Principal Investigator and cruise Chief Scientist
Research Professor
UNC-Wilmington, Center for Marine Science

Dr. Ross is a native of North Carolina and has spent most of his career involved in marine science of the southeast region. He earned a BS degree in zoology from Duke University, a Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a PhD from North Carolina State University. He was the Research Coordinator for the NC Coastal Reserve Program for 13 years. He is currently a research faculty at UNC-W and also has led offshore studies for the US Geological Survey. His area of specialization is ichthyology (fishes), particularly in areas of ecology and life history studies (age, growth, feeding, reproduction). He has conducted numerous, diverse projects in estuaries and offshore waters and has served as chief scientist on many cruises, including those using submersibles and ROVs. The current work of Dr. Ross and his team involves assessment of the fish communities of unique deep water habitats off the southeastern US in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Middle Atlantic Bight. In particular, they are looking at energy flow (trophodynamics) and relationships of animals to various habitats, including coral banks, canyon systems, and rocky areas. Dr. Ross is also involved with European scientists in conducting deep-sea trans-Atlantic ecosystem studies. One ultimate goal of this research program is to provide information for these poorly known areas that will facilitate management and protection of productive and vulnerable habitats.

Sandra BrookeSandra Brooke, PhD

Principal Investigator and cruise co-Chief Scientist
Research Associate
Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

After completing her undergraduate and masters degrees in England, Dr. Brooke spent a few years working in mosquito control in the Cayman Islands, where she learned to dive and discovered marine ecosystems. She obtained an Master of  Arts degree in Marine Biology from VIMS, and a PhD (2002) from the Southampton Oceanography Center, UK. Dr. Brooke has since worked on several deepwater coral projects in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Norwegian Fjords, South Atlantic Bight and Gulf of Mexico, including post oil-spill assessment. She has also worked extensively on shallow coral reefs in the Caribbean and south Florida. Dr. Brooke’s research focuses on the biology and ecology of deep corals and characterization of deep reef ecosystems. In August 2008, she became the Director of Coral Conservation at the Marine Conservation Institute. The primary objective of the coral conservation program is to identify sensitive hard bottom habitats such as coral reefs that are ecologically valuable and advocate for their protection from damaging human activities.

Rod Mather, PhDRod Mather, PhD

Professor of History and Underwater Archaeology
University of Rhode Island
Rod Mather is the director of the archaeology and anthropology graduate program at the University of Rhode Island, and the advisor of the university’s underwater archaeology undergraduate program. He received his bachelor of arts from Leeds University in 1986, his master of arts from East Carolina University in 1990, and his doctorate from New College in Oxford in 1996.  Dr. Mather will direct the archaeological aspects of the Atlantic Deepwater Canyons project and will focus his attention on the discovery, identification and assessment of submerged historic and pre-contact sites.

Danny Brothers, PhDDanny Brothers, PhD

Scientist, Seafloor Mapping
Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow
USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Danny Brothers is a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at the USGS in Woods Hole, MA. He collects shipboard geophysical data to study earthquake hazards and seascape evolution. Prior to moving to Woods Hole in late 2009, he was in the Geophysics PhD program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There, he used geophysical methods to study active faulting in California and Baja California, including the San Andreas Fault and the submerged faults of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Since moving to the east coast he has been working to understand submarine canyon development and the linkages between sedimentary processes of the continental shelf and the morphology of the slope and rise. In 2004 Danny earned a BA in Geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Jason Chaytor, PhDJason Chaytor, PhD

Scientist, Seafloor Mapping
Marine Geologist
USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Jason Chaytor is a Marine Geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. Jason recieved his BS in geology from the Queensland University of Technology in 2000 and his PhD in Geological Oceanography from Oregon State University in 2006. Before joining the USGS in 2009 he carried out post-doctoral research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Jason’s current research is focused on understanding submarine landslide processes, including how and why they occur, their age, how often they occur, and what role they play in generating tsunamis. To study submarine landslides and other marine geohazards, he uses multibeam bathymetry, seismic reflection data, sediment cores, and many other geological and geophysical tools.

Caitlin CasarCaitlin Casar

NAGT Fellowship Summer Intern
U.S. Geological Survey
Caitlin is a Geology undergraduate at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. For the summer, she will be working with Dr. Amanda Demopoulos and her team on the USGS Mid Atlantic Canyons Program. The program objective is to improve understanding of benthic communities and their environment among deep coral ecosystems and how they compare to other hard bottom and soft bottom ecosystems. Caitlin’s role on this mission will be to collect water samples for the food web study component of the Canyons Program.

Veronica HoltonVeronica Holton

Undergraduate Student
College of Charleston
Veronica Holton is a senior at the College of Charleston pursuing a BS degree in Geology. She worked on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson processing data with CARIS HIPS, and the R/V Savannah collecting sediment samples for continental shelf research. Currently she is a Teaching Assistant for stratigraphy and sedimentation at the College of Charleston. She will be assisting with data processing and analysis while on the Nancy Foster.

Megan PrescottMegan Prescott

Undergraduate Student
University of Washington, School of Oceanography
As an undergraduate in the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography, Megan Prescott has participated in several hydrographic surveys off the Washington coast and around Hawaii. With a marine geology focus, Megan was introduced to hydrographic surveying late in her undergrad career when presented with the opportunity to participate in a patch-test cruise on the University of Washington R/V Thompson. After being introduced to the world of seafloor mapping, she soon incorporated it into her senior thesis, which integrated seafloor mapping and sedimentological studies around Hawaii, looking into what can be learned of sediments from different seafloor environments.

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