InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowships 2011

The InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme continues to develop and reach out to the global community of young ocean scientists. There was a record number of proposals submitted this year and we were able to award two InterRidge-funded Fellowships, together with three Fellowships for students from developing countries, supported by the ISA Endowment Fund.

The recipients of this year's awards are:

Donato Giovannelli - a PhD student at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Eoghan Reeves -a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany
Girish Beedessee - a PhD student at the Mauritius Oceanography Institute.
Srinivas Rao - a PhD student at the National Institute of Oceanography, India
Sabyasachi Sautya - a Phd student also at the National Institute of Oceanography, India

Donato Giovannelli

"I've always been fascinated by exploration and since I was a kid I was excited thinking that more people have gone to the moon than to our deepest ocean trench. The deep-sea is the ultimate Earth frontier and hydrothermal vents are one of the most exciting deep-sea ecosystems."



Giovannelli will visit Costantino Vetriani’s laboratories at Rutgers University to develop his project entitled “Analysis of functional gene transcripts in microbial chemosynthetic biofilms from deep-sea hydrothermal vents”. The aim of the proposed project is to investigate carbon fixation, respiratory metabolism and quorum sensing mechanisms in chemosynthetic microbial biofilm from deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Giovannelli is a PhD student in Ecology and Microbiology at the University of Naples Federico II and Research Assistant at the Institute for Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy, Ancona. He graduated with an MSc in Marine Biology and Ecology in 2007 from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy.

Eoghan Reeves

“The InterRidge fellowship will enable me to develop international links in an emerging area of hydrothermal plume biogeochemistry, as well as allowing me to diversify the interdisciplinary nature of my research”.







Reeves is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany, working with Drs. Wolfgang Bach and Kai-Uwe Hinrichs. His proposal is entitled: "An organic geochemical investigation of sulfur-bearing ligand formation in ascending hydrothermal plume particulate matter".  He will be working in collaboration with Drs. Chris German and John 'Chip' Breier at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. They will conduct a hydrothermal plume particle sampling campaign at hydrothermal sites in the Cayman Trough in 2011.  Reeves will examine samples from these plumes from an organic geochemical perspective with a view to examining whether hydrothermal sulfur is incorporated into the organic matter in the plumes.  Results from this study will shed much needed light on the role organic matter plays in delivering nutrient metals from hydrothermal systems to the deep ocean.

The three successful applicants for the InterRidge/ISA Endowment Fund Fellowships are:

Girish Beedessee

“I am fascinated by the abundance and diversity of organisms found at hydrothermal vents, with the possibility of finding novel genes, proteins and molecules which can contribute to interesting biological properties. This fellowship will provide me an opportunity to look at the biological properties of invertebrates and microbial symbionts sampled at vent systems of the Central Indian Ridge (CIR). There is an ongoing effort to search for new molecules in terms of marine natural products, and hydrothermal vents have proven to be a rational environment to explore. The data generated will also provide insights on the vents’ host-symbionts relationship”.

Beedessee is currently working at the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) under the supervision of Dr Daniel Marie. The title of his project is “Biological activities and properties of extracts derived from invertebrates and microbial communities of hydrothermal vent faunas at the Central Indian Ridge”. He will work with Dr Ken Takai of JAMSTEC, Japan.

Srinivas Rao

“The InterRidge/ISA fellowship gives me an opportunity to learn about the processing and interpretation of deep sea physical oceanography data in relation to hydrothermal plumes/vents. I will be analyzing the water column data (with CTD and MAPR) collected during several cruises under the Indian Ridge program. The results will provide useful information about the poorly explored slow spreading ridge systems in the Indian Ocean and will be helpful in furthering my Ph.D work. I am grateful to InterRidge for providing me with this opportunity”.


Rao completed his M.Sc. in Physical Oceanography from Andhra University in 2007 and joined as a research scholar under the RIDGE project at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India to pursue a Ph. D. in Oceanography, under the guidance of Dr. P. Vethamony and Dr. K.A. Kamesh Raju of NIO, Goa. As a part of his work in NIO he has been working on physical properties of the water column over the Indian Ocean Ridge systems. He has participated in cruises exploring the Carlsberg Ridge and Central Indian Ridge systems, to acquire physical oceanography data using CTD, MAPR’s and AUV.

Rao’s proposal is entitled “Distribution of hydrothermal sources over the slow spreading Indian mid oceanic ridges”, and he will be collaborating with Dr. Edward T. Baker, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, USA.

Sabyasachi Sautya

"I have always been interested in studying extreme habitats and deep-sea life and their evolutionary perspective. Compared to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, there is little information about megabenthic communities at the Indian Ocean ridge system. I believe this fellowship will help me to explore a wonderful benthic world from the Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean. My motivation to study the ridge fauna started after watching a WHOI video of the discovery of hydrothermal vents".


Sautya also studies at the National Institute of Oceanography, India, in the Biological Oceanography Division, under the supervision of Dr. Baban Ingole. His proposal title is “Exploration of the megabenthic assemblages of the Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean”. Extensive underwater video has been collected from the ridge, which will allow assessment, for the first time, of the variation in the rocky habitats and their biological communities, as well as potential evidence for hydrothermal processes. This will allow linkage of biological and geological patterns and assessment of ecosystem function on the Carlsberg Ridge. The training will be at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Jones.