Exploring Australia's Deep Sea

Description of personnel

A team of Australian and international experts in marine and deep-sea biology, will participate and share expertise, equipment and funding over the duration of this exciting project. The science experts, headed by Prof. Justin Marshall of the Sensory Neurobiology Group at the University of Queensland, are pleased to now be working in close collaboration with Don and Cameron Schofield of Australian Oceanographics. The DOA project has an exciting history, also involving Mike McDowell and previous collaborating organisation Deep Ocean Quest (DOQ) who worked hard in the initial 2 years to enable this venture to come to fruition.

Prof Justin Marshall is the coordinating Chief Investigator (CI) and is responsible for project organisation as well as aspects of the sensory adaptations project.

Don Schofield is Director while Cameron Schofield is Operations Manager of Australian Oceanographics (AO) the Collaborating Organisation. AO are responsible for organisation of mobilisation and demobilisation and provision of technologies.

Alan Goldizen is the project manager and coordinates logistical and scientific issues

Lee Frey is director of Blue Turtle Engineering and chief engineer at Australian Oceanographics. Lee designs and develops all technical equipment for deep ocean science including the state-of-the-art closing cod ends for the mid-water trawl nets. Lee directed the full redesign and refit of AO DeepWorker 2000 Submersibles.

CIs, Partner Investigators (PI), foreign collaborators (FC) and national collaborators (NC) are responsible for various projects which are listed on Project Details.

Chief Investigators, Principal Investigators and Technical Advisors

Prof Justin Marshall

Sensory Neurobiology Group (formally VTHRC), University of Qld

Justin is a visual ecologist, working to unlock the secret of understanding colour vision through the eyes of other animals. His multidisciplinary approach allows the necessary aspects of visual system, colour signals and environmental constraints to be combined for a full understanding of why colour vision systems evolve in the way they do. His work in the deep-sea examines how animals communicate in limited or no-light environments, the importance of colour in the deep and what senses deep-sea animals use other than vision. Communicating results is an important part of Justin’s research. In the last four years, he has par ticipated in making six natural history films, appeared on TV and radio 15 times and had his work detailed in popular press including The Sydney Morning Herald, The New York Times (USA) and The Times and Guardian (UK).

Don Schofield

Australian Oceanographics

With a background in science, decades of experience in worldwide natural resources industries and a master’s degree in marine geology, Don recognised the necessity to support the exploration, research and documentation of Australia’s oceans. Through his experiences working with the renowned Nekton Gamma and other human-occupied submersibles within the United States of America, Don saw the need to introduce this type of novel underwater vehicle and other advanced tools into Australian waters. Don’s passion for the oceans and his experience in directing innovative and leading-edge projects around the world support the company’s progression and continues to lead the Australian Oceanographics team.

Cameron Schofield

Operations Manager
Australian Oceanographics

To be updated soon. . .

Alan Goldizen

Sensory Neurobiology Group (formally VTHRC)
University of Qld

Alan is the acting project manager and is a Senior Research Assistant in Justin Marshall's lab. For the past five years he has coordinated the Vision and Remote Sensing Linkage Project (VRS), an effort to use natural vision systems as models for improving satellite and airborne remote sensing for shallow-water ecosystem health monitoring. Deep Ocean Quest joined the VRS Linkage as an industry partner in 2006. Alan has a broad range of experience over 25 years in field and lab science, including terrestrial ecology, surgical research, animal behaviour, and several aspects of marine biology. His primary technical interests are in field-based research: it's techniques, equipment, and support. Interesting animals in interesting places have always been the central spark in Alan's working life.

Send Alan a message

Lee Frey

Blue Turtle Engineering and Australian Oceanographics

Lee is the director of Blue Turtle Engineering and chief engineer at Australian Oceanographics, following a highly successful career as Senior Research Engineer and head of the Instrumentation & Robotics Laboratory at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, Florida (USA). His areas of interest are in instrumentation, underwater vehicles, and the interface between science and engineering. Current research projects include quantitative bioluminescence measurement, unobtrusive exploration of the deep sea, and the use of swarming autonomous vehicles to study coastal ecosystems. Lee was in charge of the full redesign and refit of Australian Oceanographics DeepWorker 2000 Submersibles. He will serve as the chief liason between science and engineering on expeditions, as well as a member of the submersible team.


Toby Mitchell

Technician & Submersible Crew ....Australian Oceanographics

To be updated soon. . .

Mark Taylor

Advisor on Submersible Operations

Mark Taylor is an advisor on submersible operations. Mark's expertise comes from a successful career with the NATO and UK submarine rescue systems. As well as one of the LR5 rescue pilots he was also responsible for the management of the submarine rescue decompression facility. Prior to this, Mark spent 14 years in the British Royal Navy as a bomb and mine clearance diver, travelling and diving all over the world. Mark is passionate about all aspects of the ocean, its exploration and its protection. His role within Deep Ocean Quest and Deep Ocean Australia will allow him to pursue his interest in the ocean.

Prof. Shaun Collin

University of Western Australia

Professor Collin's research falls broadly into the field of comparative neurobiology with emphasis on the neural basis of behaviour. Using models from the extant relatives of the first vertebrates (agnathans) to elasmobranchs and teleosts, various aquatic sensory systems (including vision, audition, olfaction and electroreception) are investigated to establish broad concepts of plasticity and adaptation to environments as diverse as coral reefs and the deep-sea. Anatomical, electrophysiological, molecular and behavioural techniques are used to trace the prehistoric origins of colour vision, the visual ecology of deep-sea fishes and sharks, the evolution of the vertebrate eye and the development of sensory input to the shark and teleost brains. Having published 2 books and over 110 publications in sensory ecology and comparative neurobiology (many on sensory adaptations of deep-sea fishes to changes in pressure, light and resources), Prof. Collin is well placed to oversee a number of deep-sea projects with special emphasis on primitive species such as hagfishes, lampreys and sharks and also on comparing deep-sea fish sensory systems to those in shallow water environments.

Prof Bernie Degnan

School of Biological Sciences, University of Qld

Bernie Degnan integrates breakthrough knowledge in genomics, molecular and developmental biology into the fields of invertebrate biology, marine science and evolution. He is interested in how the interplay between ecology and development influences the evolution of animal life cycles and life history strategies, including the evolution of biosynthetic pathways of complex inorganic materials and organic compounds that are often targeted in biodiscovery programs. His work in the deep ocean will focus on the discovery and characterisation of novel invertebrate adaptations and how these systems evolved. Using a range of molecular and genomic approaches, he will compare how a wide range of deep sea invertebrates differ from their shallow water relatives. These studies will provide the foundation for the discovery of biocompounds and biomaterials for manufacturing and biotechnology industries, which can yield benefits in areas as diverse as pharmaceutics and environmental sustainability.

Dr Sandie Degnan

School of Biological Sciences, University of Qld

Sandie¹s focal interest is the role of variation in local adaptation, range-shifting, colonisation, population divergence and speciation. Her previous work has included evidence for the rapid rate at which populations colonising new habitats can evolve adaptive phenotypic divergence. More recently, she has integrated molecular developmental studies with population genetics to address problems in marine invertebrate ecology and evolution from a functional genomics perspective. In Deep Ocean Australia, Sandie will be studying the functional genomics underlying adaptations of invertebrates to the deep sea environment. How is genetic/gene expression variation structured among deep sea invertebrate populations and species? How does this variation contribute to the evolution of deep sea adaptations? She anticipates that comparisons between shallow water and deep water relatives are likely to prove fruitful.

Dr Robert McCauley

Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, WA

Robert’s primary research interest is marine bio-acoustics, the study of the production, reception and use of sound by marine animals, and of the impacts of sound on them. In a continuing collaboration with the Australian Defence, Robert has made extensive recordings of ambient sea noise around Australia that is being incorporated into ambient sea noise prediction models. In 2001, Robert and collaborators concluded a four-year study into the impacts of offshore seismic noise on squid, fish, sea turtles and humpback whales. This work is used globally as a benchmark for impact assessment of offshore seismic operations. Since 1994, he has carried out research projects studying the impacts of vessel and seismic noise on humpback whales and has used whale vocalisations in census work. He is studying blue whales in the Perth Canyon, using passive acoustic techniques to study whales through their sounds, and active acoustic techniques to study whale diving behaviour and the density of their krill prey.

Jun Prof.Gert Worheide

Courant Research Center Geobiology University of Göttingen

Gert leads the Molecular Geobiology Lab at the Courant Research Center Geobiology at the University of Göttingen in Germany. He applies cutting-edge genomic- and molecular techniques to answer questions about the micro- and macroevolution of marine invertebrates and the evolution of biomineralization. He has a partner project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) to explore the "relict faunas" on the Queensland Plateau in the Coral Sea off Queensland using DeepOceanQuest's submersible technology. In Deep Ocean Australia he is mainly interested in the biodiversity and evolution of deep-sea invertebrates, biodiscovery and evolution of biocompounds and biomaterials, which may lead to novel drug discoveries and/or the production of biomimetic materials, and the molecular ecology of deep-sea organisms to understand how their diversity is generated and maintained in time and space.

Dr John Hooper

Queensland Museum

Dr Hooper’s professional career as a marine biologist spans 25 years, primarily working in natural history museums in Darwin, Paris and Brisbane, with expertise in benthic biodiversity in general, and the Phylum Porifera in particular. He commenced work on sponges in the western and northwest Australian and Southeast Asian faunas, and subsequently throughout the western Pacific rim and the Pacific islands, and currently also in the western Indian Ocean. Dr Hooper is recognised as an international authority on marine sponges (Phylum Porifera), with specific research interest in systematics, biogeography and chemotaxonomy of Porifera, and biodiversity of sessile marine invertebrates & marine conservation in general.

Dr Mark Norman

Museum Victoria

Scientist, author and filmmaker, Mark Norman is a Senior Curator at Museum Victoria and one of the world's leading experts on octopus, squid, nautilus and cuttlefish (Cephalopods). He studies their diversity, behaviour and biology. His main focus has been defining the Australian and Indo- West Pacific cephalopod fauna, primarily the octopuses. In collaboration with Dr Eric Hochberg of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, he has discovered more than 150 new species of octopus. He has published Australasian and world field guides on cephalopods. His award-winning photographs and video footage capture the bizarre appearances and fascinating behaviours of these extraordinary and often misunderstood animals. He has a passion for discovering bioluminescent creatures in any water column on moonless nights. He has worked extensively with Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC and NHK, with the BBC/Discovery Film on his research, "Octopus Hunter", winning the 2000 Panda Award at Wildscreen in the “Revealing the Natural World” category.

Dr Edie Widder

Ocean Research & Conservation Association, USA

Edith Widder is a biologist and deep-sea explorer who combines expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation with commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation. A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new submersible instrumentation, and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observation of environments. Working with engineers, she has built a number of unique devices that enable scientists to see the ocean in new ways, including HIDEX, a bathyphotometer that measures how much bioluminescence there is in the ocean, and LoLAR, the most sensitive deep-sea light meter. Most recently, Widder helped to design a remotely operated camera system, known as Eye in the Sea (EITS), which, when deployed on the sea floor, automatically detects and measures the bioluminescence given off by nearby organisms. EITS has produced footage of rare sharks, jellyfish, and squid in their natural habitats. In 2005, Widder left her post at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution to help establish and lead a new organization, the Ocean Research & Conservation Association.

Prof Eric Warrant

The Lund Vision Group University of Lund, Sweden

Born and raised in Australia, I studied the odd but fascinating combination of physics and entomology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, receiving an Honours degree in Physics in 1985. I completed my PhD on the optics of arthropod superposition eyes in 1990 at the Australian National University in Canberra. My time in Lund began in 1990 when Dan Nilsson invited me to undertake a post-doctoral fellowship. I gained tenure in 1997. A year later Almut Kelber arrived as my new post-doc, and is now tenured herself. Together with her, a team of gifted students and post-docs (Rikard Frederiksen, Marie Dacke, Henrik Malm and Magnus Oskarsson) I have had the privilege of studying how nocturnal and deep-sea animals manage to see well in very dim light, a fascinating topic that even has applications in digital image processing.

Asst Prof Sonke Johnsen

Duke University

All my life, I never wanted to be a biologist. After choosing a college solely on the fact that a family friend's hardware store was in the same town, I began a major in Physics. An Algebra professor who danced and told funny stories about pathological geniuses convinced me to change my major to Mathematics. I added a major in art, mostly abortive because I refused to take art history, and left college disenchanted with education. I then worked as a daycare provider and kindergarten teacher for Quakers, a freelance carpenter, and a dance teacher for three year olds. It was during this last job that I met Sarah, the daughter of Scott Gilbert, who wrote the developmental biology textbook used by many colleges. After hitch-hiking across the Pacific Northwest, I decided that I needed more education. A friend and I went through the alphabet. Deciding that a career in art was likely to be a raw deal, settled on Biology and met with Scott Gilbert and Rachel Merz. Rachel suggested good places to go to graduate school and Scott got me a job with a friend of his, Stuart Kauffman. Luckily, the job with Stu required no knowledge of biology and several graduate schools admitted me despite the same lack. I went to the University of North Carolina, and after a year of reading and drawing picture of insects on the lawn, I decided that biology was "okay". With little knowledge but high enthusiasm, I chose a high-risk, low-benefit project that I left behind the moment I handed in my thesis. My advisor, Bill Kier, pointed me to oceanic zooplankton, we both thought about transparency, and I applied to two oceanographic institutions, both of which turned me down. I cleaned fish tanks for a year, applied again, and both now accepted me. I went on my first research cruise to the Gulf of Maine with Edie Widder. It was stormy, the ship smelled, and I was seasick. It was the best time of my life. Ten years later, I have yet to look back.

Dr Tammy Frank

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, USA

Tammy Frank studies how downwelling light controls the behavior and distribution patterns of midwater animals during the day as well as how it triggers their vertical migrations at night. Her work combines in situ studies from the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible to quantify animal distribution patterns with shipboard based laboratory studies on the photosensitivity of animals brought up with midwater trawl nets. She is particularly interested in the adaptations of animal eyes to dim light environments, both in the pelagic and benthic realm. Her most recent research involves studying how ontogenetic migrators (animals that migrate with life history stage) adapt to the vastly different light environments they experience during their lives. She has participated in over 70 research cruises, both as chief scientist and lucky hitchhiker, conducting work in the Gulf of Maine, and off the coasts of the Bahamas, Cuba, California, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Costa Rica and the Canary Islands. Her educational background includes a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara, and post-doctoral fellowships from the University of Connecticut Medical School, Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

Dr Pat Hutchings

Australian Museum

Dr Pat Hutchings is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum, in Sydney. Pat’s interests are the systematic and ecology of polychaete worms especially those belonging to the Terebellida. While she has extensive experience in collecting using scuba and from oceanographic vessels this will be first excursion into the deep sea using a submersible. She hopes to be able to collect using corers and by scraping off pieces of substrate to which the polychaete worms are attached. Some of her group have also been recorded as swimming in the water column you never know we may some of these animals too. Pat is approaching this project as one of discovery and who knows what we will find given our very limited knowledge of polychaetes in deep water around Australia.

Dr Julian Partridge

University of Bristol

Julian Partridge is a Reader in Zoology and heads the Ecology of Vision Laboratory at the University of Bristol, School of Biological Sciences. The broad aim of The Ecology of Vision Group is to seek to understand variation in visual spectral sensitivity by the application of multidisciplinary methods. Research is wide ranging, encompassing work as diverse as the role of ultraviolet vision in birds, to flower discrimination by Australian marsupials, to vision and bioluminescence in deep sea fish and crustaceans, with research approaches ranging from receptor cell physiology to behavioural experiments and computer modeling. An important component of Julian’s work within the University of Bristol is in the area of Public Engagement in Science which dovetails naturally with his involvement in natural history filmmaking, radio and new media

Dr Dhugal Lindsay

Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology

Dhugal John Lindsay received his Ph.D. in aquatic biology from the University of Tokyo in 1998. He is a Research Scientist with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). Dr. Lindsay's research focuses on mid-water ecology, particularly concentrating on gelatinous organisms that are too fragile to be sampled by conventional methods and their associated fauna. Dr. Lindsay has extensive experience with the Japanese research vessel and submersible fleet, both as Chief Scientist and as a member of multidisciplinary teams. His sailing experience includes over 46 cruises aboard various Japanese research vessels and 21 dives in crewed submersibles. He has used conventional sampling techniques such as nets and sediment traps (e.g. IKMT, MTD, ORI, Norpac, IONESS, MOCNESS, R/V Tanseimaru, University of Tokyo; R/V Ronald H. Brown, NOAA) and towed camera arrays (e.g. 4000m and 6000m Deep-Tow Cameras, R/V Kaiyo,) and has also used both manned submersibles (e.g. Shinkai 2000, R/V Natsushima; Shinkai 6500, R/V Yokosuka) and remotely-operated vehicles (e.g. ROV Dolphin 3K, R/V Natsushima; ROV Ventana, R/V Point Lobos; ROV HyperDolphin, R/V Kaiyo; ROV Kaiko, R/V Kairei.) to investigate fauna from depths as shallow as the euphotic layer to as deep as the Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench. Dr. Lindsay is a member of the Japanese Society of Biologging Science, Plankton Society of Japan, and the Oceanographic Society of Japan, is on the editorial board of the journals "Plankton and Benthos Research" and "The Marine Technology Society Journal", and served on the National Academies of Science (U.S.), Ocean Studies Board, Committee on Future Needs in Deep Submergence Science and on the interim planning committee for the Okinawa Marine Life Science Research Institute. Dr. Lindsay is also a reknowned and prolific haiku poet, working in the Japanese language.

Dr Mark Meekan

AIMS, Darwin NT

Mark is a shark ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) near Darwin. His many projects include researching schooling hammerheads at Rowley Shoals, tracking Ningaloo Reef whale sharks with satellite devices and critter cams and studying the impact of shark fishing on reef in the Timor Sea, between Australia and Indonesia. He uses acoustic techniques and Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) to attract, count, and measure sharks. His cutting-edge work has been featured on ABC TV and radio programmes, National Geographic and Discovery Channel amongst others.
National & Foriegn Collaborators and Technical Advisors

Dr John Paxton

Australian Museum

John is a fish biologist interested in the anatomy, taxonomy, and evolution of fishes. He joined the Australian Museum in 1968. In the last few years he has focused his research almost entirely on pelagic deep-sea fishes, especially lanternfishes (Myctophidae) and whalefishes (Cetomimidae and relatives). The Alucia is an excellent opportunity to study lanternfishes, the largest family of pelagic deep-sea fishes, with 120 Australian species. As these have proven impossible to keep alive for more than short periods, there is much to learn about their use of the light organs for which they are named, as well as their interaction with spawning tuna off Cairns. John has coauthored/ coedited books on fishes, the latest being the three fish volumes of the Zoological Catalogue of Australia. These provide the taxonomic details and distributions of Australia's 4500 species of fishes. Discovery of new additions to Australia's fish biodiversity is one of the challenges of these cruises.

Prof John Pandolfi

Centre for Marine Studies University of Queensland

John Pandolfi is Professor at the Centre for Marine Studies and the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Queensland and a chief investigator of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. He has published more than 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and received numerous research grants and scholarships from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Science Foundation (USA), the Australian Research Council, and NOAA. Pandolfi is one of the world's leading experts on coral reef palaeoecology. He has focussed on coral reef ecosystems to shed light on a number of fundamental ecological questions where long-term data are essential. In the Deep Ocean Australia project, Pandolfi and colleagues will attempt to uncover the ecological dynamics of coral reef communities during sea level lowstands and still stands to understand the way in which coral reefs responded to lowered sea level when available habitat was much reduced. These issues are important for understanding the fate of living reefs in the face of global warming should mortality on a large scale develop.

Dr Alan Williams

Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation

Alan Williams is a fishery ecologist with research interests in the ecology and structure of deep sea communities and habitats. He has been involved in many surveys off Australia and New Zealand and has published research papers on the structure of benthic and mesopelagic fish communities around Australia, the types, distributions and uses of continental shelf and slope benthic habitats, and the taxonomy of deep sea fishes. Alan is enthusiastic about the development and use of camera systems to record aspects of habitats and biology, and will use a system built at CSIRO to film the seamounts sampled on this voyage.

Asst Prof Mikhail Matz

University of Texas

My lab is working on ecology, evolution and biotechnology of oceanic bio-fluorescence. I am also interested in the mode and tempo of evolution in the deep sea, addressed by molecular methods such as statistical phylogenetics, gene expression analysis, genotyping and a combination of these. Currently two projects are in focus: Why are there "living fossils" in the deep sea, and How physiological un-adaptation may create deep-sea specialists from invading species. See more at my website.

Dr Steve Haddock

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Steve is working on deep-sea gelatinous zooplankton. He is doing research on bioluminescence, biodiversity, and ecology of deep-sea and open-ocean ctenophores, siphonophores, radiolarians, and medusae. In addition to assembling phylogenies for these groups, he is interested in cloning novel photoproteins and fluorescent proteins from these jellies. See his publications listed on his website for more details (click on his name). Steve's educational background includes a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara

Prof Dan-Eric Nilsson

The Lund Vision Group University of Lund, Sweden

Dan-Eric Nilsson is a vision specialist, with a broad knowledge on design and evolution of eyes across the animal kingdom. He has experience of visual optics and visual neurobiology of vertebrates, insects, crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves, cephalopods, box jellyfish and numerous other animal groups. The eyes of any animal species owes its design and function to a combination of evolutionary history and current needs. Some environments and visual tasks put unusual demands on eye structure, and pelagic habitats are perhaps among the more remarkable habitats in this respect. For the Deep Ocean Australia project Dan is investigating the specific requirements of vision in the mesopelagic habitat. Here, both bioluminescence and downwelling daylight contribute to the scene, and the absorbing/scattering properties of water determines the range of vision. Some of the more specific questions concern the use of very large eyes in mesopelagic squid, and the motivation for very small and specialised visual systems in other mesopelagic invertebrates.

Prof Bruce Robison

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

After earning a B.S. from Purdue University and an M.A. from the College of William and Mary, Bruce H. Robison returned home to California and Stanford University, where he completed a Ph.D. program in 1973. He then spent two years conducting post doctoral research on deep sea fishes at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, before accepting a position at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1987 he joined the newly-formed Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he is presently a Senior Scientist. Robison's research interests are centered on the biology and ecology of deep-sea animals, particularly those which inhabit the oceanic water column. He has pioneered in the use of undersea vehicles for these studies and he led the first team of scientists trained as submersible pilots for research in midwater. As pilot or observer, Robison has spent a good portion of his career in deep water, aboard more than a dozen different submersibles. At MBARI, his research team has focused on the development of remotely operated vehicles as research platforms for deep sea research. Dr. Robison's midwater research program is presently addressing the ecology of gelatinous animals in the deep sea.

Dr Tracey Sutton

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, USA

Tracey is a Fish Ecologist, working on various aspects of how fish 'make a living' and their role in overall ecosystem structure and functioning. He has worked primarily in deep-sea ecosystems, with concentration on meso- and bathypelagic fishes and their ecosystem mates (other nekton as well as plankton food resources). He is currently running the pelagic trophic ecology program of the Census of Marine Life field project MAR-ECO (www.mar-eco.no), with funding from the US National Science Foundation (OCE 0623551). The goal of this project is to understand the food-web structure of the ecosystems associated with the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Iceland to the Azores), with particular emphasis on new techniques (molecular fingerprinting, stable isotopes) to elucidate poorly known trophic pathways, such as the utilization of gelatinous zooplankton by bathypelagic fishes. Tracey has participated on 65 deep-sea expeditions, including the Gulf of Mexico (filming of Blue Planet: The Deep), Southern Ocean (Weddell and Ross Seas), North Atlantic (Reykjanes Ridge), Georges Bank, Bear Seamount, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Sargasso Sea, Miami Terrace, Monterey Bay, and eastern Atlantic (Germany to South Africa). He will also begin a new phase of research in 2008, running the National Shark Research Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Prof Jochen Wagner

University of Tuebingen

Jochen Wagner is interested in the sensory biology of deep-sea fish. Most of his work deals with the structure of the retina with a special interest in photoreceptors and connectivity. He has also looked at the differentiation of sensory brain areas in mesopelagic and demersal fish. More recently he studies the neurochemistry of the optic tectum in order to characterise the special adaptations in deep-sea fish. Additional projects deal with the question whether deep-sea fish show signs of biological rhythms, and whether these may be synchronised by lunar or solar cues.

Mike McDowell

Managing Owner ....Deep Ocean Quest..


A geophysicist in a former life, Mike has built a career from adventure and exploration in some of the most inaccessible regions on Earth and beyond. A leading innovator in expedition cruising and ecotourism ventures, Mike founded Quark Expeditions, pioneering the use of icebreakers to take expeditioners into the frozen reaches of the Arctic, Antarctic and the North Pole. In the late 1990's he founded Deep Ocean Expeditions, the first company to make abyss-rated submersibles available to the general public. More recently, Mike co-founded Space Adventures, a company successfully offering space travel to the public. Over three decades, Mike has specialised in nurturing bold, 'off-the-wall' concepts from concept to fruition. Mike was a previous partner of Deep Ocean Australia in its beginnings and we hope to have an opportunity to work with him again in the future.


Last updated: March 2012 by Eva McClure

Sensory Neurobiology Group
Queensland Brain Institute
University of Queensland
Brisbane Queensland 4072 Australia