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Cruise Participants

Lead Investigators

Ken Buesseler

Ken Buesseler

Chief Scientist

Ken Buesseler is marine geochemist at WHOI. He is the lead scientist for the Carbon and Climate theme in the OTZ Project, where his research focuses on how carbon moves through the mesopelagic. 

Heidi Sosik

Heidi Sosik

Co-Chief Scientist

Heidi Sosik is biologist at WHOI. She is the lead scientist on the OTZ project where her research focuses on connecting the surface ocean with the mesopelagic

Joel Llopiz

Joel Llopiz


Joel Llopiz is a biologist at WHOI. He is the the lead scientist for the Life Histories and Behavior theme in the Ocean Twilight Zone Project where his research focuses on fish and other life in the mesopelagic.

PhD Students and Postdocs


Kayla Gardner

PhD student, MIT-WHOI Joint Program

Kayla's research focus is on twilight zone food webs. On the ship, Kayla will help process fish and zooplankton samples from MOCNESS.


John San Soucie

PhD student, MIT-WHOI Joint Program

John's research focus is on autonomy and modeling species-level observations of plankton. On the ship John will be working with ISIIS, a shadowgraph imaging system. 


Henry Holm

PhD student, MIT-WHOI Joint Program

Henry’s research focuses on the composition of sinking carbon. He will be sampling water from the CTD for many different chemical properties.


Helena McMonagle

Graduate Student, University of Washington

Helena's research focuses on the role twilight zone fish play in transporting carbon. On the ship she will help process fish and zooplankton samples from MOCNESS. 


Laetitia Drago

PhD student, IMEV lab in Villefranche sur mer, France

On the ship Laetitia will be in charge of several imaging instruments: Underwater Vision Profiler 5 and 6 as well as a Planktoscope.


Christina Fernandez

PhD Student, IIM-CSIC

On the ship Cristina will help process fish and zooplankton samples from MOCNESS.  


Elena Romero

Postdoctoral Investigator, WHOI Buesseler Lab

Elena will be working with the Twilight Zone Explorer, a new  technology developed by the OTZ Project. 

Scientists and Engineers


Jessica Kozik

Research Assistant at WHOI

Jessica will deploy the autonomous vehicle called the Twilight Zone Explorer.


Julia Cox

Research Assistant at WHOI

Julia will help process fish and zooplankton samples from MOCNESS. 


Jackson Sugar

Engineeer at URI

Jackson will be responsible for the MINION floats, burn wire release mechanisms for sediment traps and acoustic tracking of deployed assets.


Justin Ossolinski

Senior Research Assistant at WHOI

Justin will be looking at dissolved gases in seawater using a custom mass spec to analyze real-time O2/Ar and collecting samples for triple oxygen isotope analyses. 


Alexi Shalapyonok

Research Associate III at WHOI

Alexi will be analyzing phytoplankton composition and abundance using imaging capabilities of 2 FCBs - one for continuous in-line sampling and one for discrete CTD samples.


Erin Frates

Research Assistant at WHOI

Erin will be sampling seawater from the water column from the CTD rosette and filtering it to collect environmental DNA for animal biodiversity analyses in the Govindarajan laboratory.


Marley Parker

Marley Parker

Videographer & Science Writer

Marley is the expedition communication lead. She will film and photograph daily operations, and publish blog posts about the science happening aboard the Sarmiento.

Michelle Cusolito


Michelle is a former teacher and an award-winning children’s book author. During this cruise, she will be researching to write a book for middle schoolers and writing cruise updates. Learn more about Michelle at

David Liittschwager


David will be making photographs for a National Geographic Magazine story about the Twilight Zone.