David A. Butterfield is a Principal Research Scientist at JISAO, University of Washington. With the exception of two years spent in Togo, West Africa, teaching chemistry and physics, Dave is a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest. He studied chemistry and German at Reed College and Portland State University, and earned a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from University of Washington in 1990.
Dave’s primary scientific interest is in using the composition of hydrothermal fluids to learn about sub-seafloor processes ranging from volcanic eruptions to microbiological productivity. He has been on 45 expeditions with submersibles to deep-sea volcanic sites around the Pacific and Atlantic. A goal of this research is to put the composition of fluids from diverse geological settings into a regional and global context in an effort to understand the impact of hydrothermal systems on ocean chemistry and ecosystems. For this research cruise, the first task will be to use the new SOI ROV Subastian to find the seafloor hydrothermal sources for the large plume signals found in 2015. Once we find them, we will use the Hydrothermal Fluid and Particle Sampler to collect samples for chemistry and microbiology, along with the biological and geological sampling that will help us understand how the regional tectonic setting affects fluid chemistry and hydrothermal ecosystems.