Rachael Karns is a first year Ph.D student in Dr. Mandy Joye’s lab at the University of Georgia and is extremely excited to be returning to the Gulf of California on her second research cruise. She first earned her B.Sc in Biology at Roanoke College in 2015, and went on to achieve her M.Sc in Marine Science with a certificate in Computational Molecular Biology at Nova Southeastern University in 2017, studying shark microbiomes. She is currently interested in deep sea microbial ecology, specifically at hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Rachael hopes to explore hydrocarbon degrading bacteria and paired metabolisms unique to the harsh deep-sea environment.