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 Fellow

marrakech_profile-e1520039526586.pngJennifer Durden is a deep-sea ecologist and engineer interested in the structure and function of benthic ecosystems, and in human impacts on the environment. She completed her PhD at the University of Southampton, UK in 2016 on the ecology of abyssal plains, and on improving photographic methods for observing the deep-sea environment. Her previous postdoctoral work has investigated the impacts of deep-sea mining on sediment habitats, and contributed to the development of environmental policy for this emerging industry. At the University of Hawai’i, she is a postdoctoral fellow on the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation project studying the biodiversity, connectivity and ecosystem function across the deep seafloor biome of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an area targeted for deep-sea mining. Email:     Google Scholar Profile   ResearchGate Profile

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 exploring the environmental drivers behind 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 dispersal modeling. 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: personal website here Twitter: @AmandaFZiegler 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, Diva Amon, Clifton Nunnally

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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