Esmira Bibaj is a second-year Ph.D. student at Lehigh University in Dr. Jill McDermott’s Lab. Her research explores the geochemistry of deep-sea hydrothermal fluids and their impact on microbial communities in different hydrothermal systems. The western Galápagos Rift expedition provides an opportunity to examine the influence of a mantle hotspot on fluid chemistry. Esmira will investigate connections with microbial biogeochemical cycling, focusing on the trace metal micronutrients that are vital to cell function. During this cruise, Esmira will be involved in efforts to survey for new vent sites using towed sensors and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Subastian; and she will also collect vent fluids and characterize their inorganic, organic, and volatile chemistry. Before starting her Ph.D., Esmira focused on characterizing the biogeochemical effects of trace metal mobility on agricultural soils under extreme climatic conditions, a joint project at the Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen (Tübingen, Germany) and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Leipzig, Germany).