Karen Harpp (Chief Scientist)
I grew up in Montreal, Canada, in view of Mount Royal (which is the interior of an ancient volcano). While in high school I did all the standard classes but especially liked sciences and also studied dance and piano. After being impressed by a piece on 60 Minutes about John Rassias, who invented an innovative and effective teaching method for foreign language, I enrolled in Dartmouth College. I majored in chemistry but took a bunch of geology classes, and I couldn't decide which field to study because I liked them both so much. After a year in the Cambridge chemistry department researching the organic complexation of gold, I went to Cornell, jointly between geology and chemistry. My main interest was measuring the trace element and isotopic compositions of igneous rocks, using analytical chemistry to figure out how the Earth works, especially volcanoes. One of those projects was on the composition of lavas from seamounts around the Galapagos, and I was a student participant on the 1990 PLUME2 cruise, the first modern study of the seafloor around the islands. I then became a professor of analytical chemistry at Lawrence University and adopted Hudson, who was an awesome shepherd mix. After the misfortune of working with Geist in the field in the Galapagos in 1997, I moved to Colgate, but this time in a geology department. I have advised nearly 50 undergraduate theses, teach classes in volcanology, environmental chemistry, and the origin of the atomic bomb. I am also the major companion to Max, a beagle/Jack Russell/circus dog mix, Skeena, a stubborn husky, Wilbur, a barn cat who likes soft beds, and Oscar, a DOUO (Dog of Uncertain Origin). While at Colgate, I've done field work in the Galapagos, Iceland, Japan, and Antarctica with undergraduates, and I worked on cruises in the Galapagos area in 2000 and 2001, and in Hawaii in 2007. I've worked with Denny Geist and Dan Fornari in the Galapagos before, have three former students on this cruise too (Gretchen Swarr, Alison Koleszar, and Dorsey Wanless), and have an awesome group of current students from Colgate, the University of Idaho, and Redlands. Eric Mittelstaedt and I have been trying to work on these research questions for a long time from different perspectives, and are really psyched to get this incredible opportunity. This is my first time as chief scientist, and I'm so lucky to have such a great science team, crew, and ship to help us.

Dan Fornari - WHOI
I never dreamed I would end up being a marine geologist. As a boy, I remember reading books about South Seas adventures, pearl diving, giant clams, and always thought it would be great to sail around the South Pacific. Growing up, the most time I spent near an ocean was during summers when my parents rented a cottage on Shelter Island – a lovely spot at the east end of Long Island, NY where I would spend the summers in the water -- fishing, crabbing, and clamming.

I got my Bachelor of Science degree in geology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When I was a freshman, I took a course in geology and another in oceanography -- and I was hooked. I liked the subjects so much that, in 1969, after my freshman year, I applied for a summer job and ended up getting one at Scripps Institution of Oceanography where I worked for two geophysicists, Dr. Vic Anderson and Dr. George Shor, Jr.

Dr. Shor asked me back the next year, 1970, to sail on the maiden voyage of RV Melville, so I spent 3 months in the summer of 1970 going from San Diego, up to the Aleutian Islands, and then to Japan. I was living my dream -- being at sea, traveling to foreign ports and doing oceanography. But there were parts of that first cruise that were not so great. I hated the food, mostly because I was sea sick a lot, and when we hit very rough weather in the Gulf of Alaska, there were times that I thought I had made the wrong decision to be an oceanographer. That was 40 years ago. I’m now sailing on the Melville again, the fifth time I have sailed on this research vessel in my career.

I am now a Senior Scientist in the Geology & Geophysics Dept. at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). I have been at WHOI for the past 17 years doing research and also helping to develop new deep submergence research tools to better map and sample deep ocean terrains. I always find the science I do interesting and enjoy the puzzle-solving nature of it. Figuring out how the Earth works is a grand puzzle with lots of different pieces; geology, geophysics, chemistry, biology – and facilitated by state-of-the-art ocean engineering. Most of the research I do is collaborative, meaning I work with different scientists who each bring a particular expertise to the problem we are studying. Karen and Dennis and I have been working together on different research problems related to the Galápagos for nearly a decade. Working with friends who are also research colleagues is both rewarding and enjoyable. I like working in a team to solve problems.

Dennis Geist
I grew up in the shadows of the Cascades, skiing and climbing the volcanoes with an outdoor-active family and friends (hi Mom; hi Dad). I went to college to major in chemistry or engineering, but it turned out that Dartmouth's geology program was great, and the focus of the program at the time was volcanology. My senior year was 1980, a happy coincidence with Mt. St. Helens activating the science of volcanology in the U.S.. I then went back home to the University of Oregon for graduate school; it was another happy coincidence, because one of the other leading volcanologists of the day, Alexander McBirney, was there. After floundering on various research directions for a couple of years, Mac steered me to a project working on the Galapagos Islands, and I did my PhD working on San Cristobal and Santa Fe islands, in the older part of the archipelago. Although the project was mostly field work and petrologic study, a few isotopic measurements were the most important data in my thesis, so I went to University of Wyoming for a postdoc working in an isotope lab. I then landed a teaching/research job at Hamilton College and reinitiated my field studies in the Galapagos, with students. It was a great job, but when an opportunity arose to move back to the northwest in 1990, I moved to the University of Idaho. Daughter Beryl was born at Hamilton but raised in Moscow and Spokane. She has the genetic disposition for science and is majoring in biology at Williams, and this summer is doing field research on the Great Barrier Reef and lab work back in Williamstown. In 1997, I started working with our chief scientist, Karen Harpp, in the Galapagos, and we have worked together ever since. Since arriving at the University of Idaho, I have worked with 21 masters, 5 PhD, and 12 undergraduate research students and taught over 4000 students in classes. This is my fourth oceanographic cruise.

Chris Sinton
I am currently an assistant professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands in southern California, but am a native of upstate New York.  I majored in Geology at Middlebury College, but caught the oceanography bug while studying for a semester at the Williams-Mystic Program in Mystic, CT.   After a couple years I went back to school to get a MS and PhD in Marine Geology at Oregon State University working with Dave Christie and Bob Duncan.  My MS thesis involved the rocks recovered during the PLUME2 cruise, which involved a young Karen Harpp.  I am really happy to be back on the ocean in an extraordinary location.  My job will be to take some of the lavas recovered from this cruise and determine the age of eruption using the Ar-Ar dating technique.

Mark Kurz (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Like many oceanographers I grew up in the midwest, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which
is a small town between Milwaukee and Madison.  My parents who are now 87 and 92
years of age (yay Max and Kay!) still live there, and I visit as often as
possible.  I majored in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin but always
found geology fascinating too, and decided that geochemistry was an ideal
mixture of the two disciplines.  After Wisconsin, I got my Ph.D. in the
MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, following the advice of my first
graduate mentor, John Edmond, at MIT: “Join Oceanography and see the world!”.
Following a 2 year Post Doc at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris I
returned to Woods Hole as a scientist and have been there ever since (more than
26 years!).  My research has focused on gases in rocks, and the long-term
degassing history of the earth’s interior, which may seem esoteric but involves
the formation of the atmosphere and the oceans. One of my most formative
experiences as an oceanographer took place in 1977, here in the Galapagos, on
the expedition that located the first sea floor hydrothermal vents. I learned
how much fun it is to combine seagoing and lab work.  I always miss my great
family when I go on expeditions like this: my wife Slim is a landscaper, my
daughter Nellie is a costume artist at the Santa Fe Opera, and my daughter
Olivia just graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College.  Congratulations

Eric Mittelstaedt
I grew up in the sleepy little town of Los Angeles in Southern California where I attended the University of California at Los Angeles.  While there I studied Astrophysics, but I turned away from the stars to the Earth after studying the heat carried by mantle plumes with Paul Tackley, a professor at UCLA at the time. To further my study of the Earth and terrestrial phenomena, I did a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics under the advisement of Professor Garrett Ito at the University of Hawaii.  During my doctorate, my research projects included the study of hotspot-influenced mid-ocean ridges, rift processes, eating loco moco, chemical geodynamics, and a few side projects related to ocean wave dynamics (i.e., surfing).  I am currently based in Paris, France at the fluid dynamics laboratory, Fluides, Automatiques et Systèmes Thermiques (in English that means Wine, Cheese, and Warm Croissants) (CNRS/UPMC/U. Paris Sud) where I am studying the heat flux of hydrothermal vents, the segmentation of mid-ocean ridges, how to carry a man purse, how to make delicious French pastry, and my best angle in a Speedo (I have not yet perfected that one, non non!). My French is also improving, and my favorite expression is “Oui oui!”  During this cruise, I am principally responsible for the gravity and magnetic data and how it relates to the plume-ridge interaction in the Northern Galapagos area. I will be continuing to process and model the data we collect on this cruise in January when I will start a position as a post-doctoral investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where I will really enjoy working but will greatly miss my warm chocolate croissants and my Speedo. Oui oui!
Alison Koleszar
I've always loved science and was lucky enough to travel to a lot of different places (and spend a lot of time cavorting with nature) as a military brat . After graduating from high school in Alaska in 2000, I went to Colgate University to major in Astronomy and Physics but  took a few geology courses after meeting Karen Harpp (our chief scientist) through her Science Outreach program. Karen sucked me into the discipline, taught me all of the cool things that can be done with a mass spectrometer, and I changed my concentration to a Geology/Astrogeophysics double major. I got to know Karen and Denny rather well after spending a month with them on the tiny island of Floreana in 2003!

After graduating from Colgate in 2004, I went to Brown University to get my master's degree in Geology. While at Brown I studied Galapagos lavas by analyzing the volatiles (gases such as water, carbon dioxide, sulfur, etc.) trapped within them. After finishing my master's in 2007, I headed to Oregon State University to study how volatiles affect the eruptive behavior of Mount Hood, an 11,239 ft volcano that towers over the city of Portland, Oregon. I also help run the laser ablation analytical equipment at Oregon State University. My significant other (Joe Levy, a permafrost and planetary geologist) and I split our time between the cities of Corvallis and Portland, along with our cat (who thinks she's a dog) named Mafic.

Once I finish my PhD (hopefully in summer 2011) I would like to continue working on subduction zone volcanoes (like Mount Hood) in addition to ocean islands (like the Galapagos). This is my third research cruise, and I'm very excited to work with the scientists, students, and crew to collect some great rocks and see what we can learn from them!

Miguel Ángel Calderón Torres

I am Miguel Ángel Calderón Torres, I was born December 30, 1982 in Guayaquil city.  I went to grades school and High School in San José “La Salle” and the University in Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL). I studied Geological Engineering and graduated in 2008.
Currently, I am working for the Sea Law National Commission (CNDM) in Ecuador.  I have been working for two years in studies of the Ecuadorian Continental Shelf and the geological extension of the Galápagos Islands.  With my work, we are supporting the technical and scientific information for Ecuador, which will be added to the CONVEMAR of the UN.
In addition, I am working on studies of mineral resources on the continental shelf, for example manganese’s nodules, cobalt-rich crusts, and polymetallic sulfides.  We are also working on studies of the Gulf of Guayaquil on new exploration projects.
Currently, the Oceanographic Institution of Ecuadorian Navy (INOCAR) and Sea Law National Commission (CNDM) have a multibeam EM302 and a low frequency seismic profiler, and one of our main objectives is to obtain information about the bottom and sub-bottom of the shelf and oceanic crust and try to define the north and south bases of the Carnegie Ridge.
Angela M. Kuhn

 I was invited on this cruise as guest local scientist, as I form part of the staff of the Charles Darwin Foundation at the Galápagos Islands.  The CDF is an international NGO that holds a special agreement with the Ecuadorian government and works as the main scientific advisor in issues related to the conservation of the islands. 
My first time in the Galápagos was as part of the Meteorological Department of a regional oceanographic cruise of the National Navy in 2005.  I was in my second year of college at the Coastal Polytechnic University (ESPOL, in Spanish) in Guayaquil – my natal city, and still was unsure of what I wanted to do after college.  We spent just three days in the islands, but you definitively can’t help falling in love with the Galápagos. I decided I had to come back.
In 2008, after finishing my required credits, I started at the CDF as a volunteer.  There I found the opportunity to finish my Bachelor in Oceanography by performing my thesis research through a scholarship provided by the Foundation. During 2009 I worked on my thesis, exploring the sea temperature variability of the western Galápagos and its empirical relationship with variations of abundance of sub-tidal organisms.  I applied some time series analysis methods and multivariate statistics to available data of the CDF’s Ecological Monitoring Program and near surface temperature records in Isabela and Fernandina Islands. I was also able to participate on monitoring field trips, around the islands, and discovered the enchantment of the marine realm.
Currently, as a Junior Scientist, I’ve been re-integrated into the CDF’s Marine Research Department.  Several challenges are on sight.   The unique environments of the Galápagos and the human development in the archipelago require suitable science-based management tools with the capacity to integrate biological, physical and social knowledge. Monitoring programs, institutional networks and early warning systems are just some of the key words that may lead us to the next step, and I’m willing to be a part of it.

Gretchen Swarr
Gretchen graduated from Colgate University in 2007 with a psychology major and a geology minor. Since graduating she has been working in the geology department at Colgate with Karen Harpp, where she is a research assistant and lab technician. In addition to lab work Gretchen also enjoys field work. She spent two weeks in Iceland at Hekla volcano in July of 2007 and two weeks in Ecuador at Tungurahua and Cotopaxi volcanoes in July of 2009. She has presented her research on these volcanoes at GSA and AGU conferences. She is psyched to be on the Melville and looking forward to collecting some data!

Nick Pollock:
Nick Pollock, a Sagittarius, considers himself lucky to be able to call scenic Northeast Ohio home and is a fiercely loyal Cleveland sports fan. One of five siblings, Nick enjoyed the benefits of growing up in a large family where there was always someone to get into trouble with. As a senior at Colgate University he is majoring in Geology and Math and hopes to be able to combine the two in future endeavors. In his spare time, he takes pleasure in, discovering new music, and rescuing the populations of whole African villages. Nick has been known to enjoy the occasional rock or two, perhaps fostered by his days of youth spent making “moon dust” with his brothers by smashing rocks under his deck. One of his goals for the cruise is to do something worthy of earning him the nickname Clutch.

Caitlin Mello
Cait is going into her final (!) year at Colgate University, where she’s a geology major and women’s studies minor. (Weird, I know.) She also competes on the equestrian team. Although she’s spent most of the past three years in the metropolitan hub that is Hamilton, NY, she originally hails from Massachusetts (a.k.a. the greatest or “wicked awesome” state). She loves horseback riding, the beach and chocolate-covered strawberries (hint, hint, people who want to give her things upon her return!). She has an irrational fear of big fish. (Unrelated to the Tim Burton movie, which was quite good.) Aquariums make her uneasy. Thus far, her future plan(s) are to “just roll with it.

Krista Moser
Krista was born and raised in the lovely state of Iowa, no she did not live on a farm but instead is from the city of Cedar Rapids. She is an upcoming senior at Colgate University and is a member of the Women's varsity basketball team. She is a geology major (surprise, surprise) and is excited about getting her teacher certification and student teaching in the spring. Her future plans are unclear but she is not scared of the unknown. She enjoys melon (all varieties), napping, spending time with family/friends, photography, sunbathing, running and puzzles. Despite being 6 foot tall Krista is terrified of heights but luckily she will not have to sleep on the top bunk on this cruise (what a relief, wheww!). During these next weeks she will especially miss text messaging, the Grey's Anatomy finale, and of course her mother! However, Krista is super excited for the cruise, bonding with her fellow scientists and getting to know the crew!

Will Cushman
Hi there, I'm Will Cushman - NOT to be confused with Will Schlitzer. I'm a rising senior at Colgate, and hail from Dubuque, Iowa, a charming and historic river town - despite its many meth labs - on the upper Mississippi. Majoring in Geology, I've just completed a semester-long sojourn from the subject in London, where I focused on my Minor - Creative Writing. In my spare time I enjoy reading, traveling, spacing out, and pretending to know things - like how to speak Spanish, and the proper way to taste wine. I don't have a favorite food, or a favorite color, but would say that my favorite coin is the Sacajawea Gold Dollar. I am excited for the cruise, and am praying that I am not prone to sea-sickness.

Will Schlitzer
Will Schlitzer is currently a junior at Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York. He grew up in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts with his twin sister, Emma, younger brother, Sam, and the family’s two golden retrievers, Izzy and Sophie. While he came to college thinking he was Pre-Med, he soon realized he was wrong after taking Karen Harpp’s intro class, Megageology. Outside of geology, he is a part of the outdoor program at Colgate, where he enjoys backpacking and rock climbing. It now seems right to mention that he did not get into geology because of rock climbing, that’s a silly question that a lot of people ask. He also plays (badly) on the Colgate club rugby team. He can confidently say that getting the opportunity to go on this cruise is the coolest thing that has ever happened to him.

Cameron McKee
Although he was born in the sunny paradise of San Diego, Cameron McKee currently hails from the harsh tundra of northern New England. He has spent the majority of his twenty years living with his parents and two brothers amidst the snow banks of Augusta, Maine. At Colgate University he is majoring in both geology and English. As this would suggest, he does indeed enjoy reading poetry, candle lit dinners, long walks on the beach, and the smell of rich mahogany. Along with his strict, multidimensional academics, he enjoys spending quality time volunteering with his fraternity brothers and is an active member of the university’s Still Reds Rugby Football Club. On a more personal level, his advisor Karen Harpp, among many others, refers to him as Iceman. Drawing on the 90’s classic Top Gun, this nickname reflects his calm demeanor, steadfast reliability, and poise under pressure.

Allison Tinnin
My name is Allison Tinnin and I am from Sacramento, California. I just finished up my junior year at the University of Redlands in southern California. I am an Environmental Science major and hope to join the Peace Corps after college. I really love nature and the outdoors and hope that by working on this cruise I will learn a lot. I like to run and swim and plan on competing in a triathlon this fall. During the summer I am a lifeguard and swim instructor, which is fun, I also like to swim and barbeque by the river with my friends. I am very excited to meet new people and do interesting and new things while on this cruise. I have never been aboard a ship this size or for this long so it will definitely be an experience.

Marques Miller
Marques Miller is currently an undergraduate at the University of Idaho. After his first semester of college he choose to take on geology as a major, given his lack of understand to just about everything else. Marques picked geology as a major, because the aspects of the earth fascinate him. He hopes to travel the world while better understanding its processes. Marques was born in northern Idaho, living there for the past twenty one years….. While growing up in Moscow Idaho, Marques lived for baseball, winter, particular when it snowed, and the life outside. He has one sibling by the name of Nolan, who is a senior at Moscow High School, out weighing him by about forty pounds and towering his six-one by three inches. Marques’s parents names are Mark and Julie and also attended the University of Idaho. Marques is a fourth generation University of Idaho student who will graduate the UI at the end of next year. He is an active member of the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. After Marques graduates, he hopes to master in either structural geology or petrology at an aspiring university outside of Idaho. He really can’t handle Idaho for more then twenty-three years.

Mike Carbone
Michael is geology major and an upcoming junior at Colgate University. As a southern New Jersey native, he has dedicated most of his life to athletics and academics. Interestingly, he credits his involvement in athletics, which was promoted by his mother, father, and grandfather, to be the main influence in his success. Michael is one of two varsity athletes that are on board the Melville this summer. He is a varsity football player, specializing at the linebacker position. Due to Mike’s lifelong involvement in athletics, he has become a natural leader on and off the field. He loves to participate in activities and work with others while accomplishing his goals. Moreover, Michael has earned several athletic and academic honors throughout his lifetime. Not only was he named a New Jersey all-state linebacker his senior year in high school, he was also named Southern New Jersey’s scholar athlete of the year, in recognition of his dedication to both athletics and academics. After Michael graduates from Colgate he plans to do research for a company that specializes in locating and extracting natural gases. However, due to Karen Harpp wonderful influence, he might possibly choose to work as a volcanologist in the future.


  1. Are the bird's feet really blue and, if so, how do you explain that? MSD

  2. hey beans. pop-pop and i have our first bowling night tonight and your other pop bailed on us so there is only two carbones left...maybe you can sub when you get back. love