Sweetman , Christopher
Vanda Carmo is a MAR-ECO student from the University of the Azores in partnership with the Institute of Marine Research (Norway) and VIMS. Her research aboard the RV Bigelow focuses on the diets of a group of mid-water fishes that includes dragonfishes, lightfishes, marine hatchetfishes, viperfishes, and loosejaws.
Randy is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia’s Eugene Odum School of Ecology in Athens, Georgia with a B.S. in Ecology. His senior thesis modeled carbon flow in a deep-sea hydrothermal vent community, using Stella (an ecosystem modeling program). He is currently working under Dr. Jacqueline Mohan at the University of Georgia as a research technician studying the effects of climate change on eastern hardwood forests. In addition, Randy has recently been working on the Global Parasite Database under Dr. Sonja Altizer. On this cruise Randy will be observing deep-sea sampling procedures, helping Dr. Sutton with his research, as well as developing possible research ideas for future personal projects.
VIMS professor Tracey Sutton specializes in the study of the deep sea, particularly the fishes and invertebrates of the mesopelagic (200-1,000 m depth) and bathypelagic (1,000-4,000 m) zones. He and his graduate students use a variety of sampling methods (e.g., midwater nets, submersibles, ROVs) to gain an understanding of the diversity and community structure of Earth's least-known ecosystems. Sutton is particularly interested in the development and application of multiple techniques (microscopical, genetic, and biochemical) to understand the dynamics of deep-sea food webs, and how these interactions shape community structure in the "mid-waters" of the open ocean, which are by far Earth's largest (~ 92% of the world ocean volume) and oldest ecosystems.
Christopher (CJ) Sweetman is a Ph.D student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science with Dr. Tracey Sutton. His role on the summer 2009 MAR-ECO cruise to the mid-Atlantic Ridge is to conduct a food-web analysis of a group of mid-water fishes known as "pencil smelts" (Family Microstomatidae). What is interesting about these fishes, besides their large biomass near mid-ocean ridges, is that they appear to consume large quantities of gelatinous zooplankton. Jellyfish remain a poorly understood link in the global carbon cycle and this project, using both taxonomic and molecular analyses, hopes to shed more light on the importance of gelatinous zooplankton in a dynamic ecosystem such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Sweetman , Christopher
Phone: (804) 684-7773
Office: Andrews Hall 131
Department: Fisheries Science