InterRidge Fellows 2009

As part of InterRidge’s mission to promote interdisciplinary, international collaboration for research of oceanic spreading centers, we invite proposals for InterRidge Student and Postdoctoral Fellowships of up to $ 5000 USD each. These fellowships are designed to encourage international collaboration on any aspect of ridge-crest science by graduate students or postdoctoral researchers, fostering long-standing partnerships for their future careers. In 2009 the Fellowship Program expanded with funding from the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Endowment Fund to enhance the training opportunities for young researchers in developing countries. 

The recipients of this year’s InterRidge Fellowships is:

 Susan Lang  (a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), USA)

 Surya Prakash (a PhD candidate at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO ), India)

Susan Lang (a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), USA)

The title of Lang’s project is “Investigating the formation mechanisms and inorganic precursors of formate and acetate in Lost City hydrothermal fluids.” Lang will determine the stable carbon isotopes of formate an acetate and the radiocarbon isotopes of formate in Lost City fluids with the objective to: (1) constrain the formation mechanisms of formate and acetate (biological vs. abiological), and (2) determine the inorganic precursor to these species (mantle CO 2 vs. seawater biocarbonate). Lang is advised by Dr. Lihini Aluwihare at SIO, and the fellowship will be conducted with Dr. Gretchen Fruh-Green at ETH Zurich, Institute for Mineralogy and Petrology. Lang received her Ph.D in Chemical Oceanography in 2006 from University of Washington. As an undergraduate, she studied chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

In describing her career goals, Lang writes, “My career goal is to become a research scientist at a university or governmental agency. My primary research interest are in using organic geochemistry techniques to investigate where, why and how organisms interact with their environment and in investigating how the quality and quantity of organic matter affects biological species. The use of radiocarbon isotopes is a fundamental organic geochemical technique that I do not yet have experience with. This opportunity would allow me to master this type of analysis in one of the world’s preeminent accelerator mass spectrometer laboratories.”  

Surya Prakash  (a PhD candidate at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), India)

Prakash is our first fellow to be supported through the International Seabed Authority Endowment Fund. The title of Prakash’s proposal is “Helium isotope studies of hydrothermal plume over slow spreading Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean.” Prakash will analyze helium isotopes in water samples collected in a systematic survey of the Carlsberg Ridge to confirm the existence and source of a hydrothermal plume in this region. Prakash is advised by Dr. K. A. Kamesh Raju at NIO, and the fellowship will be conducted with Dr. John E. Lupton at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Prakash graduated in chemistry from Jiwaji University, Gwalior, India.  

As explained by Prakash, “This fellowship will give me an opportunity to learn the analytical techniques for estimation of dissolved helium isotopes in sea water, using a noble gas mass spectrometer. The technique and facilities are not available in India, and are preset in only a few laboratories in the world.” As a side note, Prakash mentioned that he was inspired by the movie “Aliens of the Deep” to explore hydrothermal vents in his graduate student research. 

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