Leg 1 and 7 Researchers

Click on any name below to read an interview.

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Shane Anderson

Steve Fitzwater

Marcos David Martinez

Mike Burczynski

Gernot Friederich

Tim Pennington

Carmen Castro

Christy Herren

Josh Plant

Zanna Chase

Veronica Lance

Tarry Rago

Francisco Chavez

Roman Marin III Erich Rienecker
Curt Collins Baldo Marinovic Sonia Valle Rubio
Ginger Elrod


Shane Anderson (top of page)
University of California, Santa Barbara

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Mike Burczynski (top of page)
MBARI Instrumentation Technician

What is your role on this cruise?
I'll be running and maintaining a variety of scientific instruments for measuring physical properties of the ocean. One of these is a CTD rosette water sampling profiler which measures conductivity, temperature, oxygen, light, fluorescence, transmissivity as it is lowered from the ship to depths of up to 6000 meters. This unit can also capture water samples at different depths. It carries 12 bottles and each one can hold 10 liters. I'll also be using the underway CTD system which measures some of the same physical parameters, but it analyzes sea surface water that is being constantly circulated into ship. There will be several other instrument packages that I'll be overseeing and making sure they run correctly. Basically, I run the instruments, process the data, and make sure all the systems are working properly and accurately. 

What are your primary goals?
To keep all the instruments under my control running smoothly and accurately. And provide the scientists with the best data that we can. 

What do you expect to find?
Warmer and clearer water. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
To me it's the "unknown" that makes these cruises fun. You never know what new discoveries you are going to find, what problems you will encounter, what the weather will be like, what wildlife you'll see. My least favorite part is trying to find someone to take care of my dog, Byron. It can be a problem on longer cruises. Oh... and getting seasick is no fun either.

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.? / How did you become one?
As a child I grew up in Poland and Italy, where population density and environmental pollution is a much bigger problem than in the United States. After moving to the U.S., I remember going to places like Yellowstone and Yosemite, and other wilderness areas in Washington state and realizing that places like this don't exist anymore in countries like Poland. So I wanted to do something with my life that contributed towards either ecological preservation or solving environmental problems, that's what steered me towards science.

Carmen Castro (top of page)
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (IIM-CSIC)


Zanna Chase (top of page)

MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow

What is your role on this cruise?
I'm going on the return leg from La Paz to Moss Landing. I'll be making continuous measurements of surface-water iron concentrations using a chemiluminescence, flow injection analysis (FIA) system. We'll also be deploying a special CTD-rosette that can get us clean samples from 12 depths. We will analyze these samples on board, using the same type of FIA system that we use for the mapping. This will tell us about the vertical distribution of iron. 

What are your primary goals?
To get lots of good data

What do you expect to find?
It would be interesting to see some kind of systematic relationship between iron concentrations and the location of various ocean currents. We might also see a correlation between surface water iron concentrations and the width of the continental shelf, or between iron concentrations and ocean productivity.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
It's always fun to be out here actually studying the ocean on the ocean, rather than back home in the lab or at the computer. I also like the variety of things there are to do, from operating winches, to doing the chemistry, to working up the fresh data, and of course seeing new places. A cruise is a great time to discuss science with other oceanographers, and to forge new collaborations. My least favorite part is getting seasick. By the end of a long cruise, I can't wait to get outside, run up a big mountain, and eat salad.

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.?
I've always been interested in science, probably because my father is a scientist. I had a lot of other interests though, and struggled a lot deciding what to study. In the end I chose science because it was interesting and I saw there were fields of science, like oceanography, with a very appealing practical side, where you could also travel and get outside and do field work.

How did you become one?
After my bachelor's degree, I just stayed with it through a masters and doctorate, and that's how I became an oceanographer. I was lucky to have some great advisors during graduate school, and they really helped me along and kept me motivated.

Francisco Chavez (top of page)
MBARI Senior Scientist


Curt Collins (top of page)
Naval Postgraduate School

Ginger Elrod (top of page)
MBARI Research Technician

What is your role on this cruise? 
My main goal on this cruise will be to determine iron concentrations in seawater using Flow-Injection Anaylsis (FIA). Surface water iron concentrations will be measured continuously using a teflon pump on a towed "fish" platform. The vertical distribution of iron will be determined from discrete samples collected on our "Trace Metal Clean" Rosette.

What are your primary goals?  
My immediate goal is to keep the FIA instruments running well to produce quality iron data. The intermediate goal is to understand how iron concentrations affect and are affected by the biota, as well as physical and other chemical interactions in this area of the ocean. Ultimately the goal is to understand how iron, a necessary micronutrient for phytoplankton, behaves on a global basis, particularly its role in global climate.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to see lower concentrations of surface water iron on the February transit going south from Moss Landing to the Gulf of California than on the reverse trip in May when the upwelling period should be in full

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of research cruises in general is producing data that is part of "cutting edge science". Participating in the IronEx experiments was an inspiring and powerfully scary feeling. To see the clear blue open ocean turn into pea soup after adding iron was amazing. It was also sad that John Martin was not around to see "The Iron Hypothesis" proven. Our iron work on the Pt. Lobos CTD cruises is also showing some similarly 
exciting stuff.

I can't deny that my other favorite part of research cruises is getting to go to new places. Although I've been to Mexico before, my first time there was on a research cruise. They have also taken me to Alaska, The Galapagos Islands, The Panama Canal, Tahiti, the Southern Ocean and Hawaii.

My least favorite thing is, of course, the long work hours and lack of sleep. I also like to say that you can tell your spouse and your kids that you will be back, but cats just don't understand and their little hearts are broken each time thinking I have deserted them.

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one? 
I wanted to be a "Marine Biologist" for as long as I can remember. I spent every moment I could as a kid on the beach and poking around tide pools. I took up SCUBA as a teenager. Little did I know I would end up doing analytical chemistry! The trace elements that we measure are such an important part of the biological cycle that we like to call ourselves "Global Biogeochemists." In truth, being a good chemistry student opened a lot of doors for me and the competition is minimal! 

Steve Fitzwater (top of page)
MBARI Senior Research Technician


Gernot Friederich (top of page)
MBARI Research Specialist


Christy Herren (top of page)
MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow



Veronica Lance (top of page)
Duke University

Roman Marin III (top of page)
MBARI Research Technician


Baldo Marinovic (top of page)
University of California, Santa Cruz


Marcos David Martinez (top of page)


Tim Pennington (top of page)
MBARI Senior Research Technician

What is your role on this cruise?

What are your primary goals?
Document evolution of water properties within the California Undercurrent as it flows from Baja northwards to Monterey Bay. 

What do you expect to find?
Not sure. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Being away from home and being away from home. 

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc.?
When I was 13. 

How did you become one?
By going to 12 years of college.


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Josh Plant (top of page)
MBARI Research Technician

What is your role on this cruise?
As a research technician, I'm here to help out with the scientific operations on this cruise including collecting water with our trace metal rosette, measuring iron from these samples, helping to keep the iron analysis systems up and running, and where ever a hand is needed.

What do you expect to find?
On the transit from Monterey down the coast and into the Sea of Cortez we will be trying to get a better picture of the northward flowing California Undercurrent and the hydrography of the water column in general. The iron levels may be helpful in determining if there are regions along the coast where productivity may be limited by this element.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
So many parts of research cruises are enjoyable: The change of pace and scenery and going to new places. The diversity of ongoing projects always keeps life at sea exciting. A BIG plus is having good food cooked for you. In addition, there is usually neat marine life to see while transiting from place to place and maybe a fish to catch.

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? How did you become one?
Most of my free time has always been spent around the water diving in it, fishing on it or hiking near it. In high school I had the best teachers of my life and they really got me excited about science though at that point I still wanted to be an archaeologist. My high school physics teacher also taught me how to SCUBA dive which was probably the turning point.

During my first year of college I took a great archaeology course about Bronze Age Greece. Unfortunately the class was a slide show type lecture in a dark room with comfortable chairs. Needless to say I usually fell asleep. So that was that for archaeology. My geology and biology courses on the other hand were pretty exciting so those were the areas I focused on. But by the end of college I was pretty tired of school so I spent a year as a commercial urchin diver and a lobster fishing in Maine.

Then I headed back west to Alaska and fished for crab in the Bering Sea for a little bit. Eventually I ended up back in my home town of Inverness, California. I had good timing coming home. I started working as a field technician on a science project trying to better understand the chemical, biological, and physical interactions between the ocean and watershed connecting Tomales Bay. Now this was luck. I was getting paid to drive boats, dive and collect samples on the bay I grew up around. One of the project leaders was from Hawaii and he asked me if I was interested in going back to school. I said yes.

For 4 more years I got to play detective with mud cores, using changes in stable isotopes and organic compounds to decipher the past land use history in the watershed. After that I worked as a research diver for California Dept. of Fish and Game and then as a research technician for MBARI for the last 5 years. So I guess science always interested me, but I never had clear direction of where it was taking me. It all just seemed exciting and fun. 

Tarry Rago (top of page)
Naval Postgraduate School

Erich Rienecker (top of page)
MBARI Research Assistant

Sonia Valle Rubio (top of page)