Principal Investigator


Craig Smith obtained his Ph.D. from Scripp’s Institution of Oceanography in 1983 and is currently a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai’i. He has strong interests in biodiversity, disturbance ecology, and human impacts in seafloor ecosystems. Craig has conducted research in Antarctica, mangroves, submarine canyons, organic-fall communities, cold seeps, continental slopes, and abyssal plains to obtain a broad perspective of natural and stressed marine ecosystems. He has lead over 50 research expeditions from the equator to Antarctica, and has conducted over 100 HOV, ROV and AUV dives. Craig has also published over 140 papers in the scientific literature on seafloor ecology, biodiversity, climate-change impacts, and the design of marine protected areas. Email:

Postdoctoral Researchers

DSCN1062edited Diva Amon is a deep-sea ecologist with a special interest in chemosynthetic habitats and anthropogenic impacts in the deep sea. In 2013, she completed her Ph.D. jointly based at the University of Southampton and the Natural History Museum in London, UK. Her Ph.D. research focused on the ecology and biogeography of chemosynthetic environments such as hydrothermal vents, whale falls, wood falls, bone-eating worms and wood-eating bivalves. At the University of Hawai’i, she is a postdoctoral researcher and assistant project manager on the ABYSSLINE Project. Her current research is focused on understanding what megafauna inhabit the largely unknown deep sea of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean, in advance of the mining of this region for polymetallic nodules. In order to responsibly manage and protect this abyssal ecosystem, one must first understand what is there! She considers herself to be a ‘tropical species’ having been born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and so has adjusted to life in Hawai’i quickly. Google Scholar Profile Twitter: @DivaAmon Email:

CliffClifton C. Nunnally is a benthic ecologist interested in the structure and function deep-sea invertebrate communities. Clif gained his Masters and PhD in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 2003 and 2012, respectively. As a master’s student Clif studied the macrofauna community of cold hydrocarbon seeps and the associated benthic respiration of these food rich areas as a component of the DGoMB Project. As a PhD student Clifton measured the rates of biogeochemical cycling of sediments in the Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone” and described the impacts low oxygen and hurricanes on the macrofauna communities on the continental shelf while participating in the Mechanisms Controlling Hypoxia project. A postdoctoral researcher in the Deep-Sea Fish Ecology lab from 2012 to 2015 at the University of Hawaii, Clif designed and built an in situ respirometer that measured invertebrate oxygen consumption in the Kermadec Trench. He also designed a Free Vehicle Core Respirometer that measured in situ sediment community oxygen consumption in the Mariana Trench as a contributing member of the Hadal Ecosystem Studies (HADES) team. As a part of the Smith lab Clif is working on compiling macrofauna community structure gathered from dense manganese nodule areas in the Clipperton-Clarion Fracture Zone as part of the ABYSSLINE project. Clif began his many days at sea as a fisheries observer in the North Pacific Groundfish fleet and has conducted additional research in Prince William Sound, Alaksa, with Qatari colleagues in the Persian Gulf and in partnerships with National Geographic and Greenpeace. Twitter: @seagrifo Email:

Graduate Students

Pavica Srsen Pavica Srsen has interests in the areas of benthic ecology and conservation biology. She earned a B.S. in Biology-Ecology in 2004 from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where she studied the cryptofauna of a bank-forming coral Cladocora caespitosa in the Adriatic Sea. After her graduation, she worked as a conservation biologist in a National Park on the Adriatic coast and this experience gave her an insight into conservation issues, especially invasive species in the marine protected areas. She became particularly interested in how climate change and the warming oceans become more susceptible to species invasions. Currently at the Department of Oceanography at University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), Pavica studies benthic ecology and effects of climate change on possibly the fastest warming ocean on the Earth – the Southern Ocean. The focus of her M.S. research at UHM (completed in 2012) was benthic ecology of the Antarctic Peninsula; in particular, how the megafaunal and macrofaunal community structure and biomass of the shelf benthos vary with variations in sea-ice duration. She is currently a Ph.D candidate at UHM and is studying the effects of ice-shelf collapse (that was induced by climate change) in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Specifically, she is interested how  food-web structure, faunal community structure, succession and diversity were affected by this change.  She is using various tools for this: stable isotopes, image analyses of bottom photos for megafauna and microscopic analyses for macrofauna. Email:

Emily YoungEmily Young is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography. She graduated with a M.Sci. in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, UK, where she developed her interest in deep-sea ecology and reducing environments. Emily has also studied at the University of Iceland, acted as a teaching assistant on a deep-sea ecology course at Friday Harbor Laboratories, WA, and has participated in fieldwork and research cruises within the NE Pacific and the SW Atlantic. At the University of Hawai’i, Emily’s research is focused on the BoWLs project; investigating deep-sea biodiversity, connectivity and ecosystem function associated with organic-fall substrates, as investigated through the use of experimentally deployed bone and wood landers. Twitter: @emilyyoung92 Email:

Amanda_ZieglerAmanda Ziegler is a graduate student working toward a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography on the FjordEco project. My work focuses on the diversity and structure of megabenthic communities in fjords along the West Antarctic Peninsula. For this work, I analyze seafloor imagery and will explore the benthic food web through the use of stable isotopes as well as the connectivity of megafauna with genetic techniques. I am also generally interested in deep-sea ecology and have been involved in the ABYSSLINE project assessing the abundance and diversity of benthic megafauna in mining claims within the CCZ. Website: Twitter: @AmandaFZiegler Email:

Other Staff

Cassandra TurnerCassandra Turner has been working in macrofauna taxonomy with the Smith Lab for over 2 years. She graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University, and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Marine Science at the same institution. For her Master’s thesis, she will be assessing the aquaculture potential of a Hawaiian species of polychaete for shrimp broodstock feed, and developing culturing methods for this polychaete species. At the University of Hawai’i, she is working on the ABYSSLINE project. For this project, she specializes in the collection and processing of sediment cores for macrofauna. She has gained sea time through her participation in both ABYSSLINE cruises as well as one BoWLs cruise, and looks forward to taking part in future research at sea. Email:

irisIris Altamira has been with the Smith Lab for over ten years. She is the current lab manager but spends most of her time identifying polychaetes from a range of habitats. When she does have spare time, you can find her doing incredible marine-influenced art. Email:

Past Postdoctoral Researchers

Amanda Demopolous, Victor Evrard, Elizabeth Galley, Adrian Glover, Laura Grange, Sarah Mincks, Paulo Sumida, Andrew Sweetman

Past Graduate Students

Steven Brumsickle (M.S. 1989), Bruce Bennett (M.S. 1990), Helmut Kukert (M.S 1990), Shawn Doan (M.S. 1994), Paul Parnell (M.S. 1992, Ph.D. 2000), Daniel Hoover (M.S.1995), Robert Miller (M.S. 1997), Amy Baco (Ph.D. 2002), Amanda Jones (M.S. 2000, Ph.D. 2004), Sarah Mincks (Ph.D. 2005), Bryan Nakahara (M.S. 2007), Fabio Cabrera-De Leo (Ph.D. 2012)

Past Undergraduate Students

Christian Clark, Michael Derocher, Colin Seifer


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