My news: July to September 2017

Here’s another mega post summarising my news from the last three months. It covers my papers published, the Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems conference and DOSI day, and some recent deep-sea science communication I did.


  • Amon, D.J., A. Ziegler, J. Drazen, A. Grischenko, A. Leitner, D. Lindsay, J. Voight, M. Wicksten, C. Young, C. Smith, 2017. Megafauna of the UKSRL exploration contract area and eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean: Annelida, Arthropoda, Bryozoa, Chordata, Ctenophora, MolluscaBiodiversity Data Journal 5: e14598. 10.3897/BDJ.5.e14598
  • Lindh, M.V., B.M. Maillot, C.N. Shulse, A.J. Gooday, D.J. Amon, C.R. Smith, M.J. Church, 2017. From the Surface to the Deep-Sea: Bacterial Distributions across Polymetallic Nodule Fields in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean. Frontiers in Microbiology 8: 1696.
  • Smith, C.R., D.J. Amon, N.D. Higgs, A.G. Glover, E.L. Young, 2017. Data are inadequate to test whale falls as chemosynthetic stepping-stones using network analysis: faunal overlaps do support a stepping-stone role. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 20171281.

DOSI day and Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems conference

On August 27th to September 1st 2017, I attended the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) Meeting and the 6th Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems conference (CBE) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA.  The week proved to be incredibly enjoyable, inspiring and valuable! I presented research I’ve been doing over the last few months on the incredible methane seeps found in areas that may be exploited for oil and gas off Trinidad and Tobago. All in all, it was a great week filled with informative conversations, many old friends and colleagues, thought-provoking scientific talks and maybe even the beginnings of some future collaborations.


DOSI Day participants at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Photo credit: Lisa Levin.


My presentation on the methane seeps off Trinidad and Tobago. Photo credit: Emily Young.

Science Communication and Outreach

Now that I am in Trinidad, one of my goals is to increase the public’s awareness of the deep ocean. Here is my third article about the Caribbean deep sea (focused on the Kick’em Jenny submarine volcano this time) that was simultaneously published on the Wild Tobago blog and in the Tobago Newsday on 24th August 2017. You can find out more about my previous Caribbean deep-sea articles here.

Kick'em Jenny cold seeps

Mussels and sea cucumbers at Kick’em Jenny cold seeps. Photo credit: Ocean Exploration Trust



As mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of my goals while I am in Trinidad is to increase the public’s awareness of the deep ocean. I’ve already done one talk at the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalist Club on the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago. Below you can find two articles that I’ve written about the deep ocean.

  1. To commemorate four years since my journey down into the Cayman Trench in the Shinkai6500 submersible, I’ve written a two part article on the experience. The first part was published in the Trinidad Newsday on 15th June 2017 and the second part on 22nd June 2017.
  2. I also wrote an article about the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago that was simultaneously published on the Wild Tobago blog and in the Tobago Newsday on 22nd June 2017.
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HOV Shinkai6500 being launched. Photo credit: Diva Amon.


CNN Inspirations: Wild Discoveries

*Update: You can watch the group Q&A segment of this episode here.*

On May 18th, I was one of three experts to head to the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre to film the latest episode of CNN Inspirations: ‘Wild Discoveries’. I was joined by Kristofer Helgen, an amazing mammalogist who is responsible for the discovery of  >100 species (!), and Dean Lomax, a rather famous palaeontologist who never leaves home without his giant dinosaur claw. Needless to say, I felt WAY out of my depth! But of course, filming was a blast and everyone was lovely. We were interviewed by CNN correspondent, Max Foster, in front of a live studio audience about the most interesting marine, terrestrial and prehistoric species discovered over the last two years. I don’t want to ruin the surprises from my marine segment but to give you a few teasers, I’ll be talking about quite a few videos filmed by the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer including Casper the octopus and the viral hydromedusae from our Marianas expedition. You will have to tune in to see what else made the cut! This episode will be airing on CNN International on:

Fri 6/30/17: 410am ET and 1010pm ET

Sat 7/1/17: 810am ET and 910pm ET

Sun 7/2/17: 210am ET and 410pm ET

Adam (the producer), Kris, Dean and I should be doing a live tweet up during a few of the airings so send us your questions!

Hunting for vents in the St Peter & St Paul Archipelago

On Monday 19th June, I will be heading out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to explore the deep ocean and mesophotic reefs around St Peter & St Paul Archipelago for three weeks with a team of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists and California Academy of Sciences scientists and media. This area is super interesting because it is the only place in the Atlantic where the Earth’s mantle breaks the surface of the ocean. This means that there will be all manner of weird geology, which will likely get even stranger the deeper we explore! This will be the first time that this area has ever been explored so whatever we find will be exciting! A best-case scenario would be to find hydrothermal vents similar to those seen at Lost City, which are currently one of a kind. If not, we could find a seamount-like habitat laden with deep-sea sponges and coral.

It will be my first time sailing on the M/V Alucia and OMG, I am excited! One of the best things about this expedition is that we’re using the Alucia‘s submersibles, Nadir and Deep Rover, to do our deep-sea exploration and sampling!

Follow my updates on Twitter: @DivaAmon
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The M/V Alucia launching one of her submersibles. Photo credit: Alucia Productions.


My news from July 2016 to April 2017!

I have been terrible with keeping my website up to date so this post summarises all of my news from July 2016 to May 2017. It covers papers published, workshops attended, outreach done and some very big career changes.


Let’s get the big stuff out of the way first!

After three great years in the Smith Lab at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, I decided that it was time to move on. So in November 2016, I packed my bags and headed back to my family home in Trinidad and Tobago to spend some much needed down time with my mum and dogs.

In December 2016, I was hired as consultant by Pew Environment to help coauthor the nomination of National Marine Sanctuary Designation For The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. You can find that document here.

Then in February 2016, I got the FANTASTIC news that I had been offered a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship! So from March 2018, I will undertake two years of my own research on deep-sea mining in Dr. Adrian Glover’s lab at The Natural History Museum, London.


The Natural History Museum, London. Photo credit: Diva Amon.


In October 2016, I was fortunate to attend the OBIS-INDEEP training workshop at the UNESCO-IOC project office for IODE in Oostende, Belgium. The meeting brought together deep-sea biologists and data managers in an effort to build an international alliance with a common vision to provide open access to deep-sea biodiversity data. This will hopefully enhance our understanding of the deep-ocean ecosystem in order to better inform ocean governance and management. You can read more about it here.

In April and May 2017, I participated in a pilot study by NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research & Technology (CIOERT) as a biology expert for the Okeanos Explorer expedition to the Western Pacific between Pago Pago (American Samoa) and Honolulu via telepresence at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Exploration Command Center.


  • Cordes, E.E., D.O.B. Jones, T.A. Schlacher, D.J. Amon, A.F. Bernadino, et al., 2016. Environmental impacts of the deep-water oil and gas industry: a review to guide management strategies. Frontiers in Environmental Science 4: 58. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00058
  • Glover, A., T. Dahlgren, S. Taboada, G. Paterson, H. Wiklund, A. Waeschenbach, A. Cobley, P. Martínez, S. Kaiser, S. Schnurr, S. Khodami, U. Raschka, D. Kersken, H. Stuckas, L. Menot, P. Bonifacio, A. Vanreusel, L. Macheriotou, M. Cunha, A. Hilário, C. Rodrigues, A. Colaço, P. Ribeiro, M. Błażewicz, A. Gooday, D. Jones, D. Billett, A. Goineau, D. Amon, et al., 2016. The London Workshop on the Biogeography and Connectivity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Research Ideas and Outcomes 2: e10528. doi: 10.3897/rio.2.e10528
  • Amon, D.J., A. Hilario, P. Martinez Arbizu, C.R. Smith, 2016. Observations of organic falls in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone, tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Biodiversity. doi: 10.1007/s12526-016-0572-4
  • Amon, D.J., P. Fryer, D. Glickson, S. Pomponi, E. Lobecker, K. Cantwell, K. Elliott, D. Sowers, 2017. Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas [in special issue: New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and R/V Falkor Field Season. Oceanography. 30(1): 60-65.
  • Cormier, M.H., K.L.C. Bell, S.M. Sharuga, C. Castillo, J. Conrad, D. Amon, et al., 2017. Exploration of the Southern California Borderland [in special issue: New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and R/V Falkor Field Season. Oceanography. 30(1): 40-41.
  • Amon, D.J., A. Ziegler, A. Kremenetskaia, C. Mah, R. Mooi, T. O’Hara, D. Pawson, M. Roux, C. Smith, 2017. Megafauna of the UKSRL exploration contract area and eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean: Echinodermata. Biodiversity Data Journal. 5: e11794.

Science Communication and Outreach

In July 2016, I represented NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to present the findings of the three-leg expedition by the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer earlier that year. You can read about that here.

Now that I am in Trinidad, one of my goals is to increase the public’s awareness of the deep ocean. I intend on doing this via a series of talks, blog posts and newspaper articles. The first of those was a talk at the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalist Club on the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago in February 2017, which you can watch below. Stay tuned for more!


UPDATE: Exploration in the Marianas Region

I recently returned from a fantastic expedition on Leg 1 of the Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Honestly, it was one of the best cruises of my life! The imagery was stunning, every dive was exciting, there was lots of outreach, telepresence rocks, the team on board was so much fun and so professional, and it turns out the geology lead on board (Deb Glickson) is my science soulmate. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I was invited to take part as Biology Lead. If I could do that for the rest of my days, things would be perfect but alas, it’s back to hypothesis-driven science rather than exploration and hypothesis-generating science for me! Hey, that isn’t too bad anyway 😉 Continue reading

Exploration in the Marianas Region

On Wednesday 20th April, I will be setting sail aboard the NOAA ship, the Okeanos Explorer, for three weeks (20th April to 11th May). The goal of our expedition is to explore the area around the Marianas Trench using an ROV. What is exciting and special about the Okeanos Explorer is that it only does exploration and science communication (not research-driven science) – it’s ROV basically just drives around looking for cool stuff! The best bit is that all dives are streamed in HD imagery LIVE on the internet so anyone can watch! Continue reading