Education and Outreach

Marine Conservation Summer Institute


The Marine Conservation Summer Institute will immerse students in the world of marine conservation biology and policy, giving them a set of basic tools for addressing and understanding issues of conserving marine biodiversity in the context of 21st Century society and the ‘anthropocene’ epoch. The Institute is set in the vibrant educational and research setting of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina.

The five-week course consists of three weeks of plenary lectures, field trips and activities, and two intensive week-long modules intertwined in weeks two and four and led by experts in the field. Plenary weeks and modules will be focused on hands-on, team-based, experiential learning with meaningful faculty-student engagement that are hallmarks of the educational environment at the Marine Laboratory. Students will be in the field and at the discussion table, learning the basic tools of conservation biology and policy in the plenary weeks and delving deeply into special topics with experts during the module weeks.

Modules for 2014 are:
1) Deep Sea Conservation (Van Dover) & International Oceans Law (Kraska)
2) Conservation of Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles (Read) & Domestic Oceans Law (Roady)

Learning Objectives

  • Apply fundamental concepts of conservation biology and policy
  • Appreciate threats to biodiversity and strategies to preserve it
  • Analyze key concepts of social science and law involved in conservation

Skill Sets

  • Effecting change, understanding process
  • Mechanics of policy development
  • Organizational behavior and misbehavior
  • Negotiation dynamics
  • Understand roles and parameters

2014 Themes

  • Human Dimensions and the Marine Environment
  • Deep-Sea Conservation & International Ocean Governance
  • Invasive Species
  • Marine Vertebrate Conservation & US Oceans Law 

Call for proposals: InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2014

Call for proposals:

InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2014

All application materials are to be submitted electronically to the InterRidge Coordinator (; by 31 March 2014

InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowships - Call for proposals 2014

Call for proposals:

InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2014
All application materials are to be submitted electronically to the InterRidge Coordinator (; by 31 March 2014

Short Course On Remote Sensing of Potential Fishing Zones and Ocean State Forecast

The training course will be held at ITCOocean, Indian
National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS),

InterRidge fellow 2013

The InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme continues to play an important role in the careers of early career ocean scientists. There was a high number of proposals submitted again this year and we awarded four InterRidge-funded Fellowships, together with three Fellowships for students from developing countries, supported by the ISA Endowment Fund.

The recipients of this year's InterRidge Fellowships are:

Lily Muller - a PhD student at NOC Southampton, UK
Phillipp Nasemann - a PHD student at Otage University, New Zealand
Szitkar Florent - a PHD student at Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris, France

InterRidge/ISA Endowment Fund Fellowships were awarded to:

Xinxu Zhang - a PhD student at Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China
R. Rajasabapathy - a PhD student at  NIO, India


Lily Muller


 Phillipp Nasemann

Philipp Nasemann is a PhD student at the Centre for Chemical and Physical Oceanography -Department of Chemistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand and is supervised by Drs. Sylvia Sander and Claudine Stirling.

He just returned from a research voyage on RV Sonne to the New Hebrides island arc in Vanuatu where a new hydrothermal vent field was studied and sampled. His participation has been sponsored by Prof. Andrea Koschinsky from Jacobs University in Bremen, which he will visit as well to carry out further analyses.

According to his proposal “Fractionation of iron isotopes in Island Arc and Backarc Hydrothermal Systems” focus of the research will be on the alteration of the isotopic signature of iron along its transport from hot vent fluid to the open ocean. Therefore a comprehensive set of samples was collected to determine the initial iron isotopic compositions of host rock and hot vent fluid in this new vent field, and to monitor iron through the buoyancy process all the way into open ocean seawater. Studying iron isotopes and parameters such as iron/sulphur ratios will allow investigating whether significant amounts of iron are actually being exported from hydrothermal vent sites. The results will bring us one step closer to our goal of using iron isotopes as a tool to fully explain importance of different iron sources and the effect they have on the oceanic iron budget.

“I am doing a PhD in isotope geochemistry and marine biogeochemistry of iron. My main aim is to investigate the potential iron isotopes provide as a tracer for marine biogeochemical processes. This InterRidge Fellowship gives me the opportunity to expand my understanding of the biogeochemistry of iron into the field of hydrothermal processes and broaden my knowledge of oceanic iron cycling in general. This is crucial for my PhD and will enhance my ability to develop a career in marine geochemistry.”


Szitkar Florent

 Florent Szitkar is working with deep-sea, high-resolution magnetic data collected on hydrothermal sites along oceanic ridges worldwide. During his PhD at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), he became familiar with different methods to process and interpret these data. His work reveal that ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal sites are characterized by a high magnetization resulting from chemical processes during serpentinization, whereas alteration is the main cause of the low magnetization observed at basalt-hosted sites. He successfully used this knowledge to help locating hydrothermal deposits during two cruises in the French exclusive economic zone in the Pacific Ocean.

After his PhD defense in May 2013, he continued his work as a post-doc in IPGP to prepare several articles while maintaining international collaborations with prestigious research institutes around the world, including WHOI (USA), GNS Science (New Zealand), and AORI (Japan). He is presently looking for a post-doctoral position starting at the beginning of 2014.

The Inter Ridge project aims to widen his expertise by applying a new inversion scheme developed by Dr. Chie Honsho from AORI (The University of Tokyo, Japan) which avoids the upward-continuation (i.e. the loss of resolution) of other methods. He plans to compute high-resolution magnetization maps over several hydrothermal sites of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, taking full advantage of the near-seafloor measurements and allowing a precise interpretation.

" I have always been interested in Earth Sciences. Even if it’s not easy to choose the research topic, the best choice I did was to apply for this thesis project, not only because it’s really exciting but also because I have always enjoyed really friendly and warm relationships with my supervisor, Dr. Jérôme Dyment. Under his supervision, I had the opportunity to learn how to become a scientist and prepare papers for prestigious journals. With the professional skills he gave me, I’m now ready to hug a really interesting scientific career! ".


The two 2013 InterRidge/ISA Endowment Fund Fellows are:

Xinxu Zhang

I have always been fascinated by the microbial life inhabiting oceanic crust since I started my PhD in oceanic crust microbiology and biogeochemistry. This fellowship gives me a great opportunity to investigate the microbial diversity and mineral-microbe interactions of North Atlantic crustal biosphere with top scientists and state-of-the-art technologies. The result will help on understanding the roles of microbes in ocean crust weathering and I will gain extensive experience in studying microbial transformations of earth materials which is crucial for my future research.



R. Rajasabapathy

“Knowledge on Methanotrophic bacterial diversity in the vent regions is of foremost significant because of the chemotropic mode of adaptation. But the diversity of these groups in the vent sites has been complicated to identify due to its limitation in the phenotypic and chemotaxonomic properties. I have always been interested in studying the diversity of marine bacteria especially identifying the functional groups from the shallow water hydrothermal vents. The IR/ISA fellowship will give me an opportunity to explore the methanotrophic bacteria from shallow hydrothermal vent in Azorean Island through methane monooxygenase genes (sMMO)”.

Rajasabapathy is currently doing his Ph.D on “Molecular diversity of shallow water hydrothermal vent (Azores) bacteria, their adaptation and biotechnological potentials” under the guidance of Dr. C. Mohandass at CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India. He will visit IMAR- Dept. Oceanography and Fisheries-University of Azores to work on “Forecasting of Methanotrophs by methane monooxygenase genes (sMMO) from the shallow water vent Espalamaca” under the supervision of Dr. Ana Colaco.

InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowships - Call for proposals 2013

Translations available:

Student awards at Mantle Imaging workshop, Tokyo 2011

Akiko Takeo (Earthquake Research Institute of Tokyo University) received an IR best poster award for her work entitled: “Seismic anisotropy in the uppermost mantle beneath oceanic regions from data of broadband OBSs”. She is interested in the seismic velocity structure in the uppermost mantle, as it is one of the keys to understanding plate tectonics. Takeo analyses data from broadband ocean bottom seismometers deployed in oceanic regions such as the Shikoku Basin, south of Japan.

Student awards at EGU

 Antje Buss (left) and Annie Boubonnais (right) - winners of InterRidge Student awards at EGU

At the EGU, 3-8th April 2011, InterRidge presented two awards to students participating in the Special Session: Biochemical function and diversity of chemosynthetic deep-sea ecosystems. 

Seven new InterRidge Fellows in 2012

The InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme continues to play an important role in the careers of early career ocean scientists. There was a high number of proposals submitted again this year and the seven InterRidge Fellows  are:

InterRidge Fellows 2012

The InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme continues to play an important role in the careers of early career ocean scientists. There was a high number of proposals submitted again this year and we awarded four InterRidge-funded Fellowships, together with three Fellowships for students from developing countries, supported by the ISA Endowment Fund.

The recipients of this year's InterRidge Fellowships are:

Cathy Cole - a PhD student at NOC Southampton, UK
Emanuele Fontana - a postdoctoral researcher from University of Milan, Italy
Alessio Sanfilippo - a postdoctoral researcher at University of Pavia, Italy
Jessica Till - a postdoctoral researcher studying at IMPMC, Paris, France

InterRidge/ISA Endowment Fund Fellowships were awarded to:

Hanchao Jian - a PhD student at Peking University, Beijing, China
Sanitha Sivadas - a postdoctoral researcher at NIO, India
Andrew Thaler - a PhD student at Duke University, USA, who will train Freddie Alei, from Papua New Guinea

Cathy Cole

"I am doing a PhD in hydrothermal vent geochemistry and am eager to continue to broaden and expand my experience. This InterRidge Fellowship will give me the opportunity to learn new techniques in state-of-the-art molecular biochemistry within the unique research facilities of the University of the Azores and the University of Nantes. This will contribute crucially to my PhD and open a door into a new aspect of science with far-reaching applications".

Cole will visit both the research labs at LabHorta, University of the Azores, where she will work with Raul Bettencourt and Ines Martin, and the University of Nantes, where she is sponsored by Richard Cosson. Her proposal is entitled: "When do essential metals turn toxic? A proteomic study of metal-induced oxidative stress on the hydrothermal vent-living mussel, Bathymodiolus azoricus". She will examine how the presence of cadmium, a non-essential, toxic metal, influences the mussel’s ability to tolerate elevated concentrations of essential metals, iron and copper. The build-up of metals in key tissues, and the production and activity of anti-oxidant enzymes will be quantified in response to controlled metal exposure. This will enhance current understanding of metal tolerance in these chemically extreme environments.

Cole is a PhD student at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, and is supervised by Dr. Rachael James and Dr. Doug Connelly.

 Emanuele Fontana

"Since I remember I've been always fascinated by the curious and almost incredible opportunity to observe on land, or even on rugged mountains, what was long before formed on the ocean floor: the ophiolites. These rocks contain the history of planet Earth and express all its strength. The InterRidge Fellowship gives me the opportunity to study and compare the ocean relict, still preserved in the ophiolites, with present day seafloor rocks. Somehow, it will be like bringing back these old rocks, which have been traveling for a long time, to their original environment”.

Fontana is a postdoctoral researcher at the  Universtità degli Studi di Milano, working with Paola Tartarotti. He will travel to Williams College & Williams-Mystic, Connecticut, USA, to study with Lisa Gilbert on a proposal: "Structural and petrophysical analysis of the lava/dike boundary at intermediate to superfast-spreading ocean crust: Integration between present-day ocean crust and ophiolites". This project proposes a comparative analysis of data from Troodos ophiolites (Cyprus), DSDP/ODP Hole 504B, and ODP/IODP Hole 1256D. An integration of geophysical, petrographic, structural and microstructural data will provide insight into the roles of faulting and fracturing during crustal accretion and evolution of the oceanic crust, especially at the boundary between volcanics and sheeted dykes.

Alessio Sanfilippo

"I have always been attracted by the complexity of the geological processes constraining the formation of the oceanic crust at spreading ridges. The detachment faults are an important component of lithospheric creation along oceanic ridges and provide windows into the oceanic lithosphere. The InterRidge Fellowship will enable me to take part in a research cruise to study the role of magmatism in the development of a detachment faulting system at the Mid Atlantic Ridge. I am excited by the possibility of sampling portions of the lower oceanic crust and mantle, constraining the deep processes that generate the detachment faulting".

Sanfilippo is studying the petrological processes controlling the first phases of generation of the lower oceanic crust, tracking the minerals chemical evolution from the mantle to the primitive gabbroic rocks, together with Prof. R. Tribuzio and Dr. M. Tiepolo at the University of Pavia. Sanfilippo will take part in a scientific cruise to the Mid Atlantic Ridge and he will work with Dr. Henry Dick at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. His proposal is entitled: "The role of the melt supply variability in the development of a detachment fault system”.


Jessica Till 

"The lower oceanic crust is an exciting frontier in ocean research and the microscopic Fe-oxide mineral intergrowths that occur throughout the lower crust have interested me for years. The InterRidge fellowship gives me a great opportunity to investigate the origins of this intriguing mineralogical system. Their textures could provide a wealth of information about magma emplacement mechanisms and thermal history at ocean ridges".

Till received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2011 and has participated in an IODP drilling expedition to sample lower crustal rocks in superfast spreading crust. She will visit Imperial College, London, UK to work with Dr. Adrian Muxworthy on her proposal: "Quantification of Fe-oxide exsolution microtextures in silicates to constrain cooling history at a superfast spreading ridge". Currently she holds a postdoctoral post at IMPMC, Paris, working with Dr. Yohan Guyodo.

report after two years


The three 2012 InterRidge/ISA Endowment Fund Fellows are:

Hanchao Jian

"I am interested in the seismic and geodynamic study of Mid-Ocean Ridges (MORs). The IR/ISA fellowship will give me an opportunity to investigate the detailed seismic structure and geodynamic processes of the ultra-slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge and to work with top marine geoscientists. The result will improve our knowledge about the ultra-slow spreading MOR. I am very grateful to the IR/ISA fellowship for this opportunity".

Hancaho Jian will work on full-waveform inversion of 3D seismic data collected at the ultra-slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge, which is the first 3D seismic experiment conducted over an ultra-slow spreading ridge. This is part of a Sino-French joint project, where 40 Chinese and French ocean bottom seismographs were deployed for a 3D active-source OBS experiment on Chinese R/V “Dayang Yihao” in March 2010. He is going to work at IPGP on the analysis of the 3D seismic data and will be jointly supervised by Prof. Satish Singh (seismologist) at IPGP and Prof. Y. John Chen (geodynamicist) at Peking University.


Sanitha Sivadas

Sivadas is presently a CSIR-Research Associate at the Biological Oceanography Division, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India, working with Dr Baban Ingole. 

Her proposal title is: “Functional diversity of the benthic community from hydrothermal vent regions”. The shallow water hydrothermal vents are considered to be “hot spots” of biodiversity. The discovery of minerals in the hydrothermal vents, depletion of resources on land and growing demand has resulted in the increase interest for mining this fragile and unique ecosystem. However, the exploitation of resources will have significant impact on the vent biodiversity. Most of the studies on the vent communities are focused on the structural diversity. Studies on the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning and the influences of environmental parameters are few. Understanding the role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning is important for protection and management of vent ecosystem.

"My research to date has focussed on the role of macrobenthos in the ecosystem functioning of coastal habitat and evaluating its usefulness for environmental monitoring. Though hydrothermal vent research is relatively new to me, the InterRidge/ISA fellowship gives me an opportunity to join one of the most experienced researchers in the field of vent ecology, Dr. Ana Colaço, and study the benthic diversity-ecosystem functioning of shallow water vents in the Azores, Portugal. Effective management of marine habitats requires assessing the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Limited study has been carried out from the hydrothermal vents of Indian Ocean; the expertise gained during the fellowship will help to study the Indian Ocean hydrothermal vent community".


Andrew Thaler

Thaler’s proposal: “Capacity building: Training and professional development for a visiting scholar from Papua New Guinea” is supported by his advisor, Prof. Cindy Van Dover, based at Duke University Marine Lab, NC, USA

In 2012, Mr. Freddie Alei, will enrol on a 5-week summer course at Duke University Marine Lab, to study conservation and management. Thaler will serve as his research mentor, training him in molecular approaches to ecology and population genetics at hydrothermal vents, and developing his professional skills. The objective of this proposal is to support a capstone experience for Mr. Alei, to present the results of his research at the 13th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Wellington, New Zealand. Here he will increase his knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems and tools of environmental management and network with potential future collaborators and employers.

Thaler wrote: "I've always felt strongly that we should ensure that the knowledge we gain benefits the nations we work in, especially when our research takes us to developing countries. This InterRidge/ISA fellowship will help me train a visiting student from Papua New Guinea, Freddie Alei, and develop and enhance international collaborations".