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An expedition of monument proportion
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Expedition Team

John RooneyDr. John Rooney
Chief Scientist

Dr. John Rooney will be Chief Scientist for the cruise, and will lead the mapping team. He has worked for the NOAA Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center in the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division's Pacific Island Benthic Habitat Mapping Center for three years. He is primarily responsible for mapping biologically-important seafloor characteristics using multibeam data and optical imagery obtained from camera sled tows, ROVs and other sources. John holds a Ph.D. in Coastal geology from the University of Hawaii and an M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the same institution. He has lived in Hawaii for more than 20 years and worked in, on , or around the ocean for most of that period. When he isn't spending time with his wife and 8-month old son, John enjoys scuba diving on deeper coral reefs around the islands with a closed circuit rebreather, surfing, and skydiving.

Hans TilburgHans Konrad Van Tilburg, Ph.D.
Pacific Islands Regional Maritime Coordinator/Maritime Archaeology Team Principal Investigator

Hans was originally introduced to the ocean on board his father's sloop Brunhilde at the age of eight. Since then he has worked as a carpenter and also a sport diving instructor and a science diver in California, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. He holds a geography B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters degree in maritime history and nautical archaeology from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai'i, where he focused on the maritime history of Asia and the Pacific. For several years he headed the graduate certificate program in Maritime Archaeology and History at the University of Hawaii, teaching a number of field schools among the Hawaiian Islands. He has also taught university courses in maritime history, world history, and European expansion. Currently he is the maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Program in the Pacific Islands region. He is married to Maria Da Silva, and has one daughter, Sabina (who dives).

Claire JohnsonClaire Johnson
Educator, NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program

Claire Johnson has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) since 1999, supporting education and outreach efforts over the last 5 years. Her work with the National Marine Sanctuary Program focuses primarily on regional and national education and outreach programming for the sanctuary system, specifically supporting the national marine sanctuaries of the West Coast and Pacific Islands. Born and raised in the State of Hawai'i, Claire is excited to be returning to lead the education and outreach team aboard the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai during a cruise to the remote ocean wilderness of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Brenda AltmeierBrenda Altmeier
Program Support Specialist, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Brenda S. Altmeier is a program support specialist for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary upper region. A Key Largo resident since 1991, Brenda moved to the Keys from Frankfort, Mich., a small coastal town on Lake Michigan. Since 1993, Brenda has worked for the sanctuary evolving from a position within the education department to one with Maritime Heritage Resources. Brenda has been a PADI certified diver since 1994 and a NAUI Dive Master/NOAA Working Diver for the past three years. She will serve as a support diver during the project.

Tane CasserleyTane Casserley
Maritime Heritage Program Archaeologist

Tane Casserley is a maritime archaeologist for NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program and his office is located at the Maritime Archaeology Center in Newport News, Virginia. He specializes in 19th-century warships and deep-water archaeology. Tane has surveyed more than 40 submerged cultural resource sites, from Kure Atoll to Maine, and has worked on several projects sponsored by NOAA and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In 1998, he received a Graduate Certificate in Maritime Archaeology and History from the Marine Option Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research focused on the maritime history of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and conducted surveys on Pearl and Hermes, and Midway atolls. In 2005, Tane received his master’s degree from the Program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University. Tane’s thesis focused on the steamer Queen of Nassau, the former Canadian warship CGS Canada, lying in 230 feet of water within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  He has led NOAA archaeological expeditions to the USS Monitor as well as the Florida Keys, and most recently dove with the National Park Service on a B-29 in Lake Mead. He has conducted projects using technical diving, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), as well as manned submersibles.  Tane is a dive instructor and certified trimix diver with the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).

Joe Chojnacki

Born in Wisconsin, Joe Chojnacki spent his childhood overseas attending American international schools, in Burkina Faso (West Africa), Pakistan, India, and Egypt. He returned to the U.S. to attend university at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he majored in Biology. After graduating, Joe spent a couple years traveling and chasing various interests, during which time he worked at a newspaper, did turtle conservation work, guided whitewater rafting trips, tracked wolves, and interned with the Douglas County Forestry Department in Wisconsin. He moved to Hawaii in 2001 to join NOAA Fisheries' marine debris removal program in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Joe participated in three seasons of marine debris removal at Kure and Pearl & Hermes Atolls, all the while becoming more and more involved in CRED's ecosystem survey cruises around the Pacific, specializing in benthic habitat surveys. In 2003, he entered the Master's program in Geography at UH-Manoa, and at the same time joined CRED's mapping group. He is close to completing his thesis, a study of how wave power influences the shape of coral reefs.

Dena DeckDena Deck

Dena Deck has been a formal educator since 1971 teaching everything from 2nd grade to adult education. Dena currently teaches 4th grade at Stephen Foster Elementary School in Bellflower Unified School District in Long Beach, California. She has a Masters in education, as well as life credentials at both the elementary and secondary level. Because of her enthusiasm for science, particularily marine science, Dena has involved herself in many related educational opportunities including the National Marine Sanctuaries Field Studies Program in partnership with NOAA and the National Geographic Society. Mrs. Deck will join the research cruise as an alumni of the NOAA Teacher-at-Sea program and serve as a member of the education and outreach team.

Louise GiuseffiLouise Giuseffi
Seafloor Video Analyst

Louise Giuseffi was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 6, 1984. At the age of 4 she decided to become a vegetarian. Home-schooling her last two years of high school, she graduated a year early and enlisted into the U.S. Army. She served three years as an imagery analyst at Schofield Barracks, Hawai`i. Growing up in a terrestrial world, she had always wanted to become a paleontologist. But after living in Hawai`i the ocean captured her heart and she is now pursuing a BS degree in Biology with a track in Marine Biology. She works as a seafloor video analyst for SOEST and as a scientific diver for UH Manoa. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, tree climbing, hiking, diving, fire dancing, tennis and lacrosse, in that order. She became engaged last summer in Italy and lives with her fiancée in Honolulu.

Kelly GleasonKelly Gleason, Ph.D.
Maritime Archaeologist, NMSP Pacific Islands Region

The opportunity to combine a passion for both the ocean and history led Kelly Gleason to pursue a career in maritime archaeology. Following a Bachelors Degree at the University of Notre Dame, Kelly spent a year teaching junior and high school literature before pursuing a masters degree in nautical archaeology at St. Andrews University in Scotland. She is the recipient of NOAA's Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Award and completed her Ph.D. at East Carolina University in the spring of 2006. As a maritime archaeologist with the Pacific Islands Region, Kelly supports the activities of the Maritime Heritage Program in this Region. Specifically these activities include planning and logistical support of field activities, as well as public outreach and the development of educational materials for the Maritime Heritage program in the Pacific Islands. In support of the education outreach mission of the Maritime Heritage Program, Kelly has given talks at local schools and participated in local lecture series in addition to contributing to several professional symposia and conferences.

Patricia GreenePatricia Greene
Teacher, Volusia County Schools

Pat's teaching career includes middle school, high school and college courses. Currently she teaches high school biology and marine science. Pat earned her B.S. degree from Cortland State and M.S. from the University of Northern Colorado. She has traveled to the Great Barrier Reef and Lizard Island to study the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Pat participated in the NSF sponsored "SEA Experience" at Woods Hole and was invited back the following year for an alumni seminar. Recently Pat attended the University of Tampa and the Tampa Bay Aquarium's SEAS program. Last summer she was invited to study the biodiversity of the key's marine ecosystems at the Marine Resource Lab in Key Largo.

Francis LichowskiFrances Lichowski
Seabed Mapping Specialist

Frances Lichowski is currently working as a seabed mapping specialist with NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Born and raised in Germany she grew up on the North Sea coast. After finishing high school she followed her fascination with the ocean and entered the Kiel University for her B.S. in Geology and M.S. (Diploma) in Marine Geology and Geophysics. Back in Kiel she worked as a research assistant and research diver for many years in the geosciences and archaeology. Away from work you will find her playing in the ocean. She loves to spend most of her time surfing, or racing sailboats and outrigger canoes.

Emily LundbladEmily Lundblad
GIS Specialist

As a Geographic Information Science (GIS) Specialist, Emily Lundblad works for the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division's, Pacific Island Benthic Habitat Mapping Center. While at sea (and back on shore), she assists in seafloor mapping with real time multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data acquisition, post processing, map production, and spatial analysis. Starting out with a Bachelor of Science in GIS at Texas A& M University - Corpus Christi and growing up in Corpus Christi, a port city and beach town in one, she chose to apply her digital mapping and analysis skills to coastal and marine environments. She pursued the degree of Master of Science in Geography with emphasis in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University where she developed a passion for working in and helping to sustain coral reef ecosystems. Emily has worked for NOAA for 1 1/2 years. Outside of seafloor mapping, she enjoys the outdoors of wonderful Hawai`i by dabbling in hiking, surfing, walking, beach going, kiting, and camping. She is also involved with her church's bible studies and children's ministry.

Paulo MaurinPaulo Maurin
Doctoral Student, University of Hawai'i

Paulo is a doctoral student at the University of Hawai`i, Manoa, in Communication & Information Sciences, and hold a graduate certificate in Ocean Policy. His research is on Hawai`i's marine stakeholders and co-management of local marine resources. He works with the Hawai`i Networked Learning Communities, a large online teacher's community in Hawai`i, assisting in professional development for rural school teachers. As part of his HNLC work, Paulo has been helping to conduct Navigating Change teacher workshops, bringing the NW Hawaiian Islands to classrooms. He is also a docent volunteer at the Waikiki Aquarium, teaching kindergarten and elementary school children.

Ron SalzRon Salz
GIS/GPS Specialist

Ron works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Island Office as the Senior Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning Systems (GIS/GPS) Specialist in the Pacific. His work includes recovery planning for endangered species, invasive species mapping, near-shore reef mapping and analysis, incident command GIS, data integration, and teaching GIS and GPS for the National Conservation Training Center. Ron has worked for the Department of the Interior for 19 years. Ron has undergraduate degrees in Conservation and Resource Studies (CRS) and English from U.C. Berkeley, an MA in Planning from Cal Poly, Pomona and an M.S. in Applied Information Management from the University of Oregon. Ron enjoys playing music, yard work, kayaking, travel and finance.

Robert V. SchwemmerRobert V. Schwemmer
West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Program Coordinator

Robert Schwemmer is the West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Program Coordinator for NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program based at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. He coordinates and performs archaeological investigations and research for the five National Marine Sanctuaries along the Pacific West Coast. This work includes recording and mapping submerged sites as well as the development of museum shipwreck exhibits correlating to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Santa Barbara region. Deepwater projects include submersible work aboard Delta to perform a site assessment of the shipwreck Montebello located at a depth of 900 feet off Cambria, CA. Other expeditions include a site assessment of the shipwreck Pacbaroness located at a depth of 1460 feet off Point Conception, CA, and the recovery of the gun turret from the civil war navy ship USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras, NC. After a nineteen-year career with Warner Bros. studios, Schwemmer pursued maritime research as a consultant to Federal and State Government agencies, including private and non-profit organizations. Past projects have included systematic research in developing shipwreck assessments for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park, and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and Dry Tortugas National Park. Schwemmer serves on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a charter member and current President of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Society. He currently serves as Vice-President of research for the Coastal Maritime Archaeology Resources organization.

Akel SterlingAkel Sterling
Sonar/Data systems specialist

Akel Sterling was born and raised in Massachusetts, before moving to Hawai`i at the age of 13. He received a Bachelors degree in Geology and Geophysics in 1998, and a Masters in Marine Geophysics in 2003 - both from the University of Hawai`i. His thesis investigated plate tectonic models derived from hot-spot chains on the Pacific Plate. Akel has worked for the Hawai`i Mapping Research Group at the University of Hawai`i as a sonar/data systems specialist since 2001. His main duties are the processing of acoustic data from various sonar systems and producing maps of the data for interpretation. He is also involved with the data systems onboard the Remotely Operated Vehicle "JASON" operated by the Deep Submergence Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Akel feels that the best aspect of his job is travelling around the world to exotic ports and meeting interesting people. Working with the ROV JASON he has also been lucky to view some incredible things in the depths of the ocean including hydrothermal vents, submarine volcanic eruptions and rare exotic biology.

Lindsey ThomasLindsey Thomas
NOAA Hollings Intern

Lindsey Thomas is a NOAA Hollings Intern working with the Pacific Islands Region of the National Marine Sanctuary Program's Maritime Heritage Program in the summer of 2006. Lindsey is from Atlanta and will be a senior at the University of Georgia next year. She plans graduate in the spring with a degree in Anthropology and an independent major in Underwater Archaeology. Lindsey hopes to pursue a career in Maritime Archaeology and will be in Hawaii for two months working on a shipwreck site formation prcesses project for her internship. Much of her research will take place during the June/July mapping/maritime archaeology/education cruise to the NWHI.

Ellyn TongEllyn Tong
Outreach Coordinator, Hawai`i Audubon Society's Pacific Fisheries Coalition (PFC)

Ellyn Tong is the Outreach Coordinator of the Hawai`i Audubon Society's Pacific Fisheries Coalition (PFC). The Pacific Fisheries Coalition Project is a unique collaboration between conservationists and fishermen to promote the wise use of marine resources in Hawaii and the Pacific. PFC is now working on efforts to preserve the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and to strengthen lay gillnet regulations in the main Hawaiian Islands. Ellyn has a degree in zoology and is writing her masters thesis on marine managed areas. She is also an artist, book designer, and a professionally trained mediator for Mediation Center of the Pacific. She painted and designed the L50 Actual Size poster used in the Navigating Change curriculum. "Art is an effective tool to get sometimes difficult concepts across." Two other posters and a video are in the works! She is volunteer secretary of Reef Check Hawai`i and a board member of Surfrider Hawai`i. In her spare time she enjoys painting, surfing, fishing, freediving, scubadiving, traveling, backpacking and trailclearing.

Jonathan WeissJonathan Weiss
Seafloor Mapping Specialist

Jonathan Weiss is a seafloor mapping specialist with the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was born in western Pennsylvania and as a child lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Virginia, Ohio, and Arizona. Jonathan attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia and received his B.S. in Geology in 2000. Afterwards, he moved to Hawaii and received his M.S. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Hawaii in 2004. During his time as a student in Hawaii Jonathan began to work with marine multi-channel seismic, bathymetry, and backscatter data to better understand geologic processes. Since graduating from UH Jonathan has worked with CRED and has played a major role in seafloor mapping activities in the Pacific Ocean on board the NOAA Ship Hiialakai and the NOAA survey launch R/V AHI. His main duties include multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data acquisition, processing, and interpretation. Currently, his research focuses on combining geophysical and optical data to create seafloor habitat maps. Away from the office Jonathan is an avid surfer and outdoorsman and he enjoys preparing vegetarian meals with his girlfriend and roommate.

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