Dr. Cherisse Du Preez studies the deep-sea spatial ecology of hydrothermal vents. She uses two- and three-dimensional imaging to study the very fine spatial distribution of vent animals in response to physical and chemical environmental conditions (at a centimeter scale). This research will help identify the required living conditions of these unique animal assemblages, proving important baseline information prior to the start of the commercial deep-sea mining of hydrothermal vents (for precious minerals and metals).

On the Lau Basin cruise, Cherisse will wear two hats. As a scientist, she will lead the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations to acquire images for photograph mosaicking and stereo-imaging of the hydrothermal vents and associated animals. She will also be the acting media officer onboard the ship, assisting the Schmidt Ocean Institute in scientific outreach and communication.

Cherisse is presently a postdoctoral scholar at Pennsylvania State University working in Dr. Charles Fisher’s laboratory. She completed her PhD at the University of Victoria (Canada) under the supervision of Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe and recently finished a visiting fellowship at Fisheries and Oceans Canada with Dr. Janelle Curtis.