New Team Members!

Emily Bockmon (SIO)

Emily is a Ph.D. student in Andrew Dickson's lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. On this cruise she will participate as a member of the CTD team, specifically interested in evaluating filtration methods for carbon measurements. Her research interests focus on oceanic carbonate chemistry measurements and ocean acidification. At sea this has meant participation in measuring carbon as a part of the CLIVAR program. In the laboratory she has built a system that can modify and sustain the carbon dioxide, oxygen and temperature of seawater in an experimental aquarium. Her goal is to facilitate the investigation of organism responses to a changing ocean as a consequence of anthropogenic inputs, specifically multi-variable impacts. 

Ellen Briggs (SIO)

Ellen is a first year PhD student in Dr. Todd Martz's lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she will be working on developing a low power autonomous sensor for simultaneous measurement of seawater pH and Total Alkalinity. On the cruise, Ellen will be part of the CTD team and will be collecting water samples to measure Total Alkalinity. She has recently put together a bench-top alkalinity titration system with the help of Yui Takeshita that will be tested during this cruise.

David Case (Cal Tech)

David is a PhD student from Madison, WI, currently studying at the California Institute of Technology. This is his third cruise, and first aboard the R/V Melville. David is on the Seeps Team and will be helping to analyze the geochemistry of pore waters found in the seafloor mud. His thesis research is on the diversity and function of microbes living at methane seep regions. More info about David's research can be found HERE.

 Dawson (Caltech)

Kat is originally from Philadelphia, PA and is currently a post-doc at the California Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on analyzing lipid biomarkers from modern organisms and sediments to enable better interpretation of analogous compounds in ancient settings. Lipid biomarkers are chemical fossils that can be used to study the ecology and and geochemistry of environments where larger fossils are not preserved. Kat is on the Seeps Team and will be helping to analyze the geochemistry of pore waters extracted from sediment. This chemical data should help explain the patterns of animals and microbial life we see in the OMZs and cold seep areas.

Natasha Gallo (SIO)

Natasha is a first year Biological Oceanography Ph.D. student in Lisa Levin's lab at SIO. This is her first multi-day research cruise and she is excited to be a member of the Zonation Zombies Team, previously known as the Shelf Team. She is interested in how expanding low oxygen zones may impact fish communities and how low oxygen areas impact the benthic food web. At sea, she will be collecting fish from the benthic trawl and looking at the gut contents to examine different diets between fish residing within low oxygen areas and outside of the oxygen minimum zone. 

Adriana Gracia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)

Currently, Adriana is a first year graduate student at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and also works at the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras INVEMAR. At INVEMAR, Adriana is enrolled in the program, Biodiversidad y Ecosistemas MarinosPreviously, she has participated in research cruises with the goal to enhance the knowledge of marine biodiversity of Colombia. In this expedition Adriana will be working with the Seep Team, and this will be her first experience exploring colds seeps.

Megan Grupe (UCSD)

Megan is currently a Masters student in UCSD's Education Studies program, working on her M.Ed.  She is training to be a middle/high school science teacher and is currently teaching 7th grade Life Science at Granger Junior High in National City.  As a volunteer aboard the R/V Melville her goal will be to bring real-life ocean science back to her students.  She will be helping all teams with their research and participating with some of the outreach components of SD Coast Ex

Emily Kelly (SIO)

On the cruise, Emily is part of the CTD team.  She will be collecting water samples and analyzing DIC, which is a measure of how much CO2 is in the water.

Emily Kelly is a fifth year PhD student in Dr. Jennifer Smith's lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO).  In San Diego, she works on a research team that examines the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on temperate algal species and invertebrates that depend on these algae.  In the tropics, Emily's research is focused on local disturbances to coral reefs and the role of herbivory in maintaining or restoring reef health.  Originally from outside of Washington, DC, Emily is also particularly interested in the intersection of science and policy.

Gabe Kooperman (SIO)

Gabe is a fifth year graduate student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography working in the climate sciences curricular group with Professor Richard Somerville. He studies how clouds are affected by aerosol particle pollution and use global climate models to investigate the impacts that changes to cloud properties have on the climate system as a whole ( Since Gabe’s current research doesn't take him into the field, he is volunteering with the CTD team on this cruise to gain field experience and learn first hand how observations, which are used to create and evaluate models, are collected.

Monika Krach

Monika is a Masters student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography studying the infaunal diversity at methane seep sites. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Monika graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 

Research: As a Seep Team member, Monika will identify seep animals at the newly-discovered San Diego site. She will assess the seep community's utilization of chemosynthetically-derived carbon and determine seep-specfic fauna. Monika is interested in the relationship between certain annelid worms and their bacterial symbionts. At this methane seep, she hopes to find endemic animals, sequence cryptic species, and describe any new biological discoveries. 

Sarah Moffitt (UC Davis)

Sarah will be part of the Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) team on the cruise. She'll be collecting cores of ocean sediment across a suite of depths. Sediment cores are environmental archives that can be used to understand how oceanographic and biological systems change through time - these cores, and their respective fossil assemblages, should reveal if the OMZ had shifted or intensified though the last 50-150 years. 

Sarah is a paleoceaongrapher and PhD Candidate at the University of California at Davis. Sarah grew up skiing, hiking and boating in Seattle. She got her B.S. from Western Washington University and worked for NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in Honolulu after graduating. Sarah returned to school after realizing that she wasn't equipped to be a marine ecologist without a clear understanding of ocean and climate science. Global climate change is a "game changer" for environmental scientists - one that requires a broader understanding of how the earth's ocean and atmosphere operate through time. Sarah's graduate research is focused on the intersection between climate change, marine ecosystems, and ocean hypoxia (which is another way of saying "low oxygen"). She uses stable isotopes (i.e. ratios of carbon and oxygen atoms), invertebrate and protistan fossil assemblages, and metrics of community ecology to reconstruct the history of OMZ expansion along the California Margin. Website:

Katie Sievers (SDSU)

Katie is a second year Masters student at San Diego State University (SDSU). Katie will volunteer as a member of the Shelf Team. For her own research, Katie is studying the influence of habitat structure on fish communities and populations along the Southern California coast.  Structural habitat such as habitat area, kelp density, and topographic complexity are known to affect fish populations, size, and community composition.  Katie collects biological data using SCUBA and seafloor data with multibeam sonar.  This will allow her to evaluate the relative impacts of habitat structure on important temperate reef fishes.  

Erik Sperling (Harvard)

Erik Sperling is originally from Seattle, and now works as a post-doc at Harvard University. His research is primarily focused on early animal evolution, and in particular, how low oxygen levels in the Precambrian would have affected body size and ecology in the earliest animals. He is interested in using modern oxygen minimum zones as an analogue for ancient oxygen-deficient oceans, and will be working with the OMZ team to characterize the fauna off the San Diego coast and how feeding ecologies are affected by oxygen levels.