ph.D Candidates

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East Pacific Rise


Peter Batson

Ph.D candidate
Otago University, New Zealand

Peter Batson is based out of the department of Marine Science at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His Ph.D. research focuses on exploring and describing submarine canyon communities on New Zealand's southeastern margin. He joins this expedition to the EPR as a photographer. 


Breea Govenar 

Ph.D candidate
Pennsylvannia State University

Breea Govenar is in her fourth year of Ph.D. studies at Pennsylvania State University. Her primary research interest is the interaction between organisms in the dynamic hydrothermal vent environment. Breea is currently studying the ecological patterns of tubeworm communities at the East Pacific Rise and will contribute her work to a multidisciplinary effort to model the net ecosystem productivity. On this cruise, she will be recovering an experiment designed to test the effect of structure and habitat on the local species diversity. 


Todd Haney

Ph.D candidate 
University of California Los Angeles

Todd Haney’s research focuses on the morphological and molecular systematics of leptostracan Crustacea. In particular, Todd is interested in the genetics and biogeography of Dahlella, a leptostracan endemic to the vents of the East Pacific Rise and Galapagos Rift. Todd recently completed a review of the decapod fauna associated with hydrothermal vents and cold seeps worldwide with colleague Dr. Jody Martin (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). On this trip, Todd will make his first Alvin dive, gaining his first opportunity to collect specimens of Dahlella and deep-sea shrimps and crabs.


Lee Hsiang Liow

Ph.D candidate 
University of Chicago

Lee Hsiang Liow studies the phenomena of lineage persistence and morphological stasis as seen in the fossil record, specifically looking at crinoids, brachyurans, and ostracodes. Some so-called "living fossils," including barnacles, limpets, and monoplacophorans, can be found in the deep sea around hydrothermal vents. The hypothesis that these habitats are safe havens for evolutionarily "static" organisms remains to be tested. On this cruise Lee will be assisting with several research projects and broadening her familiarity with vent habitats and species.


Julia Zekely

Ph.D candidate 
University of Vienna

Julia Zekely works in the laboratory of Monika Bright and studies the ecology and systematics of meiobenthos, tiny animals (up to one millimeter in length) that live among mussel aggregations at hydrothermal vents. She also conducts community studies at hydrothermal vents, including the animals that live on ‘hard’ basalt and ‘soft’ sediments. On this cruise she will collect meiobenthos associated with macrobenthos from vents, and compare sites and habitats of various species of meiobenthos.