Exploring below the ocean surface is intrinsic to our understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand as 94% of Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia is underwater. This is not without its challenges as the deep sea is a remote, harsh environment that we can only explore with a wide range of specialist tools and skillsets. Technological advancements over the past few decades have led to amazing new discoveries from vast undersea mountain ranges to thousands of new animal species. In the cold, dark, deep ocean around Aotearoa we have found incredibly diverse and unique animals that feed on potent chemicals that flow out of the seafloor, creating life in ways we never thought possible. The full extent of these alien-like worlds is still to be uncovered.
In this talk, researchers from GNS Science, NIWA and the University of Auckland will discuss how we can go about exploring these challenging environments, describe life at sea on a research vessel, and explain how finding out more about the deep ocean can help us better understand Aotearoa’s complex geological history.
Dr Jess Hillman (GNS Science)
With a background in geoscience and having worked in a wide variety of environments around the world, Jess’ work as a Marine Geologist and Geophysicist at GNS Science is now focused offshore Aotearoa. After completing her tertiary studies at the University of St Andrews and the University of Otago, Jess worked in the United States and Germany before returning to Aotearoa/New Zealand. Jess’ work focuses on using marine geophysical techniques and remote sensing to investigate geological processes beneath the seafloor around Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Dr Sarah Seabrook (University of Auckland/NIWA)
Working on the interface of microbiology, geochemistry, and ecology Sarah seeks to answer questions of how micro-scale interactions manifest in ecosystem structure and function. With her research, Sarah has explored environments ranging from tropical reefs to alien-like systems under meters of sea ice and thousands of meters below the sea surface. Originally from the United States, Sarah moved to Wellington after her studies to work as a microbial ecologist at NIWA joining efforts to gain a holistic understanding of the many marine environments of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Antarctica.
Dr Sally Watson (NIWA)
Sally’s research focuses on understanding offshore geological processes that occur over a range of time-scales from the coast to the deep-ocean. Sally completed her tertiary studies in Australia, and has since returned to Wellington to work at NIWA as a Marine Geologist. In her daily job, Sally uses a range of different marine datasets to investigate the formation and evolution of the seafloor around Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Ticket costs includes a glass of wine and free parking.
Image: by Dr J. Hillman (GNS)