The Minderoo-UWA Deep-Sea Research Centre is a multidisciplinary seagoing team based at the University of Western Australia led by marine biologist, engineer and explorer Professor Alan Jamieson.
Alan Jamieson is Professor at The Oceans Institute and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the founding Director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep-Sea Research Centre. He has over 20 years of experience in deep-sea science, technology and exploration. He is an international authority on the deepest places in the oceans known as the ‘hadal zone’; depths between 6000 and 11,000 metres. He has published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters and is the author of the monograph The Hadal Zone: Life in the Deepest Oceans. He has participated in nearly 70 deep-sea expeditions on over 26 research vessels spanning every ocean.
Professor Jamieson is the Chief Scientist of the DSSV Pressure Drop. During the 2018-19 Five Deeps and 2020-21 Ring of Fire expeditions, he completed 12 submersible dives in the DSV Limiting Factor. He was the first British person to reach hadal depths, and at the time was the 8th deepest diving person in history. He currently holds seven Guinness World Records for discoveries in marine biology. His research has featured in several BBC, NHK and Discovery Channel documentaries.
Dr Todd Bond is a marine ecologist with over 10 years of experience in academic research and teaching that has centred on fish and shark ecology. His current research focuses on hadal and abyssal ecology where he utilises his extensive experience with underwater video technology and sampling methods. This research seeks to understand the distribution of deep-sea organisms across large spatial scales – within and between trenches, fracture zones, and abyssal plains, and amongst oceans.
Much of Todd’s research occurs in Australia’s network of marine parks where he has developed long-term monitoring programs. He continues to be an advocate for the protection and recognition of Australia’s deep sea.
Todd’s research also extends to shallower environments where he works in photic and mesophotic fish ecology and fisheries. He is considered a global expert in the ecology of fishes surrounding artificial structures including oil and gas installations and his work informs sensible approaches to decommissioning structures that have reached end-of-life.
Todd is an avid science communicator and a WA Science Ambassador. His research is awarded at international conferences and saw him receive a Premier’s Science Award in 2020.
Prema Arasu is a writer and poet interested in the phenomenology of the deep sea. They have an MLitt in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture from the University of St Andrews and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia.
Dr Arasu is interested in how speculative fiction and experimental forms might provide us with new ways of talking about and conceptualising the oceans, particularly in the context of the Anthropocene. Their approach is interdisciplinary; integrating the methodologies of literary studies, creative arts, environmental humanities, philosophy, and science communication.
Paige Maroni is a marine molecular biologist with a particular interest in invertebrate evolution, systematics, phylogeography and diversity. Within the Deep-Sea Research Centre, Paige will employ molecular tools to understand the evolution and diversity of hadal fauna as well as address questions of genetic connectivity by examining the phylogeographic structure of the organisms of interest. Her research will involve species delimitation, genome sequencing, taxonomy and at-sea sample curation.
Maroni earned her BSc Honours degree in Evolutionary Biology from Murdoch University and recently submitted her PhD thesis at The University of Western Australia. This PhD project focussed on the evolution and diversification of an Antarctic nudibranch species complex.
Paige is an active member of the Deep Ocean Early-career Researchers (DOERS) program, Deep Ocean Observing Strategy community and the Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOP) in the UN Ocean Decade. She is also an Antarctic Science Foundation (AF) ambassador, a BioBarcode ambassador and is an active member of SASB, DSB, AMSA and SCAR.
Yakup Niyazi is a Marine Geoscientist at the Deep-Sea Research Centre. His research involves mapping the deep seafloor using acoustic imaging techniques and using his expertise in geomorphology, geology and geophysics to understand the regional and global context of the deep-sea geomorphology.
Dr Niyazi earned his master’s degree in Marine Geoscience at the University of Haifa, Israel, and recently submitted his PhD thesis at Deakin University. This project focused on the seismic interpretation of magmatic and fluid plumbing systems in the Otway and Bass basins in offshore SE Australia.
Dr Niyazi's main research interests includes submarine geomorphology, seismic stratigraphy and geomorphology of submarine canyon/channels, mass-transport complexes, fluid flow, and igneous plumbing systems in the ocean sphere. In 2020, as a member of the Deakin Marine Mapping Group, he was awarded a prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prize for a world-first initiative that monitors the health of Victoria's coastline. He is an active member of AAPG, IAS, EAGE, ASEG, GSA, and PESA.
Jess Kolbusz is an Oceanographer at the Deep-Sea Research Centre. Her research involves understanding the physical environment of the hadopelagic using full-depth CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) measurements, current meters and other oceanographic sensors. Synthesis of this oceanographic data contributes to understanding the ecology of trenches and the hadal zone.
Dr Kolbusz is a transdisciplinary researcher with a BEng (Ocean Systems) and Masters in Environmental Science (Marine Conservation and Management) from the University of Western Australia. Her PhD research focused on the role of oceanographic processes on the settlement of the Western rock lobster. Jess has been awarded with the Society for Underwater Technology’s Postgraduate Award and a UWA Oceans Institute Robson and Robertson Award.
Dr Kolbusz's research focuses on mixing and circulation surrounding trenches (including bottom water ventilation), water-mass characteristics, population connectivity of species (and their linkages to environmental conditions such as global abyssal circulation) and Parks Australia observatories off Western Australia; including long-term monitoring of bottom currents, water properties and sediment flux.
Dr Lizzy Myers is a marine ecologist at The University of Western Australia who focuses on fish biodiversity and functional ecology across large-scale spatial gradients such as depth and latitude. Dr Myers earned her BSc Honours degree in Marine Science from The University of Western Australia and has a PhD in Statistics from Massey University in New Zealand. Lizzy is currently focused on characterising the biodiversity and ecology of fishes that live in mesophotic (30-150m) and rariphotic (130-300m) zones at several locations globally, including in the Caribbean Sea and the South Pacific Ocean.
Brett Gonzalez is an Invertebrate Zoologist and an expert in scale worms (Aphroditiformia; Annelida). His research interests strive to enhance our knowledge of rare and unique taxa inhabiting environments poorly understood and often overlooked, including the deep-sea, subterranean, pelagic zone, and the interstitium.
At the Deep-Sea Research Centre, Dr Gonzalez’s will investigate processes that generate and maintain biodiversity in the marine realm – focusing on evolutionary processes driving diversity and adaptation, shaping life history strategies, and impacting biogeographic distributions. His research bridges traditional taxonomy and systematics with modern techniques of high throughput sequencing, 3D-reconstruction and advanced microscopy.
Dr. Gonzalez earned his PhD at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, where he focused his research on the evolution of scale worms. Brett also has a MSc in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University and a BSc in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston.
Georgia Nester is a molecular ecologist working with the Minderoo Foundation and the Deep-Sea Research Centre. Her research employs environmental DNA (eDNA) to characterise biodiversity and monitor threatened species in challenging marine environments. Georgia completed her PhD at Curtin University, during which she developed an eDNA toolkit for monitoring a critically endangered pipefish, supported by the National Geographic Society. In collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division, she conducted the largest eDNA transect to date, extending from Hobart in Tasmania to Davis Station in Antarctica. This project revealed several detections of non-native species in the Antarctic region. In the final phase of her research, she used eDNA to characterize biodiversity in the Cape Range and Cloates submarine canyons off the coast of Western Australia, collaborating with the Western Australian Museum and Schmidt Ocean Institute. This project successfully identified 226 species and unveiled detections of elusive and potentially new species, including the giant squid, acorn worm, cusk-eel, and squidworm.
Within the Deep-Sea Research Centre, she is focused on expanding the scope of captured biodiversity and integrating it with biophysical data to generate a better understanding of deep-sea ecosystems. An enthusiastic science communicator, Georgia received an award at the eDNA Conference 2023 for her oral presentation. Driven by her passion for conservation, she is committed to utilising her expertise to contribute to the safeguarding of deep-sea environments.
Javier Montenegro describes himself as a biologist with a profound interest in molecular ecology and evolutionary research in marine environments. Dr. Montenegro's expertise spans across a variety of model systems in lacustrine to deep-sea ecosystems, reflecting a comprehensive understanding of biological processes in aquatic environments.
During his studies, Mr. Montenegro’s focus was on the ecology and evolutionary biology of sponge-associated zoantharians in the Indo-Pacific region and the Caribbean Sea. In his postdoctoral pursuits, Mr. Montenegro investigated the molecular ecology of body coloration and the evolutionary biology of reproductive modes in fishes in Sulawesi Island. During his tenure as project researcher in JAMSTEC, Mr. Montenegro helped to manage a collaborative project assessing the environmental impact of manganese nodule mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, completing the first ROV-based midwater survey for the region.
Now, as a research fellow at the Minderoo-UWA DeepSea Research Centre, Mr. Montenegro is set to embark on a new chapter of exploration. His focus will be on the taxonomy, molecular ecology, and evolutionary biology of organisms inhabiting trenches and hadal ecosystems. By investigating these ecosystems, he aims to unravel the forces driving the diversification and perpetuation of species in these extreme environments.
Denise Swanborn is a marine scientist whose research primarily focuses on the relationship between seabed structure and the occurrence and distribution of deep-sea habitats and biodiversity. Her work spans various spatial scales and combines techniques and conceptual frameworks from seascape ecology, seabed and habitat mapping and marine geomorphology.
At the Deep-Sea Research Centre, her research will employ seafloor mapping datasets and in-situ biological observations from submersible and lander video data to obtain a better understanding of the environmental factors that shape benthic ecology at abyssal and hadal depths.
Dr Swanborn holds a PhD from the University of Oxford, where her research focused on the environmental drivers of biodiversity at seamounts and mesophotic coral reef systems in the Indian Ocean. Additionally, she earned MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Utrecht.
Prior to joining the Deep-Sea Research Centre, Denise worked in the management of sea-going expeditions combining science, technology, exploration and communication, laying the groundwork for her interdisciplinary approach to marine research.
Hayley is the Deep-Sea Research Centre’s Lab Manager. Hayley has a BCom, Post-Grad Dip MSc and a Masters with Distinction in Marine Biology from UWA. Her master's research used BRUVs to define demersal fish archetypes in response to bathymetric derivatives in the South-west Corner Commonwealth Marine Park.
Hayley has a background in business management, marketing and communications and she has joined us from the Western Australian Marine Science Institution. Her role will be supporting the management and operations of the centre and facilitating science at sea. Her interests are in deep-sea biology and science communications.
Dr Elin Thomas is a marine biologist and conservationist working at the Deep-Sea Research Centre. Dr Thomas earned her PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, where her research focussed on the conservation of deep-sea benthic invertebrates. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Southampton with a First Class Honours MSci Marine Biology degree.
Elin’s work involves addressing the need for improved fundamental knowledge about the systematics, distribution and relationships of understudied deep-sea species, and exploring how deep-sea conservation may be achieved with the limited data already available. This includes applying scientific criteria and tools from international organisations such as the IUCN to better understand the conservation needs of deep-sea environments.
Megan is a marine ecologist working in the Deep-Sea Research Centre as a Research Officer. She will collect field data and perform video-based data analysis from deep-sea submersible and lander-based systems to collect species diversity, abundance, behaviour, and other biotic and abiotic information.
Megan earned her BSc with First Class Honours degree from Curtin University. Her research compared different configurations of BRUVs cameras, in the context of identifying appropriate tools for the long-term monitoring of reef fishes. Megan has diverse experience in marine science fields including fisheries, shark ecology in the Galápagos Islands, marine spatial planning for marine protected areas, and turtle population monitoring in Costa Rica.
Melanie Stott is a marine ecologist, working at the Deep-Sea Research Centre as a Research Officer. Her work will focus on assessing the diversity and abundance of marine taxa in the hadal zone utilising video imagery analysis to better understand the faunal assemblages of the deep sea.
Melanie has come to UWA after completing her BSc Honours degree (First Class) in Marine Science at Curtin University.
Dylan is a marine scientist working as a research assistant in the Deep-Sea Research Centre. His role includes retrieving and deploying deep-sea observatories and landers, video analysis, equipment preparation for fieldwork, and laboratory preparation of collected samples.
Dylan completed a BSc in Coastal and Marine Science at Curtin University and a BSc (Honours – Class I) at Griffith University. His research focussed on the spatial variation of chemical contamination found in green turtle blood from individuals foraging in industrial inshore versus offshore locations. Dylan has experience in an array of marine science fields, including marine toxicology, underwater acoustics analysis, BRUVs, and marine turtle tagging, health assessments, and population monitoring.
Jenny is a PhD student at the University of Western Australia within the Deep-Sea Centre with a keen interest in taxonomy, ecology, applied marine biology, and biotechnology. Jenny will be using integrative taxonomy to describe new species of hadal amphipod and explore their physiological and molecular properties for their application to ecological theories and biotechnological applications. She will be exploring the gut microbiome of hadal amphipods using both growth assays and meta-transcriptomics for extremophilic bacteria capable of extracellular production of DNase and Plasticase enzymes.
Jenny has moved to the deep-sea centre at UWA from the UK. She achieved a first-class undergraduate degree in marine biology and described a new species of hadal amphipod as part of her undergraduate dissertation. Jenny completed a Master of Philosophy degree in deep-sea marine biotechnology at Newcastle University, UK. The masters project explored hadal sediments from the Kermadec Trench for extremophilic bacteria producing extracellular DNase enzymes. The enzymes were applied as a prevention and treatment for infectious biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidiswhich grow on prosthetic joint implants.
Alfredo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia. His research topics include taxonomy, ecology, and zoology of deep-sea benthic species, mainly corals and sponges. Alfredo's Ph.D. work is focused on zoological assessment and seascape ecology of abyssal plains and hadal trenches, studying vertical and horizontal biogeographical patterns. He will analyze video material and samples from multiple scientific cruises around the Pacific Ocean. One of the main goals of his thesis is to show that it's possible to apply approaches typical of shallow habitats even in the deepest part of the ocean.
Alfredo has a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Pisa and a MSc in Marine Biology and Ecology cum laude from the University of Genoa. His MSc thesis was about the structure of mesophotic communities of the central Mediterranean. He moved to Australia after a period abroad in Greece, where he studied bathyal habitats from the Eastern Mediterranean and cave communities from the Adriatic Sea.