Dr. Erik Cordes is an Associate Professor and the Vice Chair of Biology at Temple University. He has worked on the ecology of deep-sea corals and hydrocarbon seeps for over 20 years. He has spent over 16 months at sea on over 30 research cruises, 10 as Chief Scientist. The research in his lab is focused on understanding the areas of the deep sea that support the highest biomass communities: deep-water coral reefs, natural hydrocarbon seeps, and hydrothermal vents. He studies these ecosystems at all levels of organization, from energy flow in ecosystems and patterns of community assembly, down to gene expression and microbial processes. Dr. Cordes worked on deep-sea corals for his Master’s thesis at Moss Landing Marine Labs, worked on cold-seep ecology for his Ph.D. at Penn State University, and studied the microbial communities within hydrothermal vent chimneys during his NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard. At Temple, his lab has continued to explore the deep Gulf of Mexico while working on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea coral communities and the effects of ocean acidification on the reef-forming deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa. He participated in R/V Falkor’s 2012 Deep Sea Coral Shakedown. In addition to the studies of the seeps and offshore seamounts of Costa Rica on this cruise, ongoing investigations in the Cordes lab include the deep-sea corals of the Phoenix Islands, and the Deep Search project studying the various deepwater habitats of the Atlantic coast of the US as the Department of the Interior considers offshore oil drilling.

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