Bob Whritner lives in June Lake, CA near Mammoth Mt. He works for the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego and is looking to soon retire to his mountain retreat with his wife, Mary Joe. Bob is the ice imaging specialist aboard Polar Sea and his skills are put to work in interpreting satellite generated maps of the Arctic Ocean. Bob turns microwave data into very accurate images of the ice covering the arctic area. He is able to determine the approximate percent coverage of any given parcel, which helps the ship make better decisions about which way to go. He has been involved with weather forecasting and remote sensing for over 30 years. Bob is a home brewing enthusiast and his new home was plumbed for transporting the fruits of his labor from vat to tap. He and his wife enjoy the outdoors and when not on research excursions he can be found skiing and hiking in the mountains near his home.
Lance Horn is the ROV guy and this is his first trip to the arctic. He works for the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington where he is the operations manager and ROV pilot. While on AWS 98 he is serving as support for NURC at Fairbanks, AK. He graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a degree in Underwater Technology and was a hard hat research diver before becoming the ROV pilot. He is married to Lisa and they have a couple of dogs, Molly and Trouble, that they enjoy taking out with them for picnics and time on the beach. Lance was bitten by the sea going bug while serving in the Navy and when not working in the maritime industry, enjoys diving as a leisure activity.
Hugh Hammer is one of the "druggies" on the cruise and his field is Chemical Ecology. Hugh is checking out the bottom dwellers, especially tunicates and sponges, for secondary metabolites that the critters use for defense. The application of how these chemicals might be used by pharmaceutical and maritime industries is where the interests of the druggies lie. Hugh is finishing up his masters' work with Dr. Steven Watts at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and plans to go on for a Ph.D. in this field. When not dragging critter off the ocean floor Hugh enjoys scuba diving, rock climbing, and playing the piano.
Dr. Lisa Clough is the Chief Scientist aboard Polar Sea and is unarguably THE MUD QUEEN of AWS 98. I first met Lisa on AWS 96, slinging mud and sieving cores for worms and any other bottom dweller that happened to have been brought up in the box core. We had several late night/early morning conversations over the sieving table about carbon, mud, and the pursuit of happiness. Whenever Lisa is out to sea, in the ice, and shoulder deep in mud, she is a person in hot pursuit of all that is good!
Lisa is a teacher and researcher at East Carolina University at Greenville, North Carolina. She has been at ECU for five years and teaches classes in intro biology, marine ecology, and environmental biology. Her research on AWS 98 centers around how the ice algae "jump starts" the benthic critters and provides an early season food source for dwellers of the mud and bottom. Once again the element Carbon is very central to her inquiries and the metabolic efficiency of the benthic inhabitants is of parcticular interest to her. Laura Beer, a mud queen in the making, is Lisa's graduate student and involved with all of Lisa's work on the ship.
Lisa is married and her husband, Steve runs a boys and girls club in Beaufort, NC. They have a dog, Carson, and also have a couple aquariums of Cichlids, a type of fish with very interesting mechanisms of rearing and protecting their young. Lisa enjoys gardening, cooking, and watching her favorite minor league ball team, the Kinston Indians.
As Chief Scientist Lisa is busy beyond description and the sun truly never sets on her workday. She is involved with most aspects of the ship's operations that involve the science team which is just about everything. Choosing station locations, parking the ship, flight operations, weather briefs, which science team members are involved in whichever operation is taking place, and letting both the coasties and beakers know when somebody screwed up are all within her job description. The responsibility is huge yet Lisa handles it all with a lot of laughter and ear to ear grin. She is an amazing woman and her energy is contagious!
David Allen is from Massachusetts but will soon be moving to Seattle to do his graduate work in Benthic Microbiology with Dr. Jody Demming of the University of Washington. His specific project involves determining the total number of micro-critters present in bottom samples and what percent of that total are actively respiring. He then will match those numbers with the relative amounts of ice algae present at each site and determine what if any correlation there is between respiring bacteria and ice algae. His work goes hand in hand with the work that Lisa, Will, Pete, Laura, and Melissa are doing. David has traveled a bit and done oceanographic work in the San Juan Islands and Jamaica. His playtime pleasures include scuba-diving, rafting, hiking, skiing, and listening to music of all kinds.
Melissa Grable is a senior at Bates College where she is studying marine science with Will. She is working with the bottom people and her task is to sieve the mud cores in order to determine exactly who is home. This information is being used to help determine respiration rates of the critters that are utilizing ice algae as an energy source. She enjoys all water sports including swimming and sailing. She likes animals and has a dog, Woogie, a hamster, Matilda, and two goldfish, Sushi and Sashimi.