The Microbial Oceanography of the Tonga Trench Cruise is a student-led expedition funded largely by the UC Ship Fund.
Rosa Leon Zayas, Chief Scientist for the expedition, is a Ph.D. candidate, who seeks to complete her doctorate in 1-2 years. The work of this expedition will contribute significantly to her research on microbial life at the bottom of the sea.
Rosa, and others at SIO, have spent months planning the Tonga Trench cruise experiments, people to be involved, equipment required, etc. There is a tremendous amount of detail to be considered. No time for mistakes on the cruise! We will have only 72 hours (three days) at the trench so it is important for everything to be perfectly planned and coordinated to fit in as much work as possible. Specimens collected can provide material for many experiments later on. Scheduling is intricate and real-time adjustments are required. While at the trench, the science team worked around the clock. Rosa and Brett are discussing adjustments to the schedule.
Rosa loves mentoring and teaching. She is terrific with those of us who are volunteer researchers on board. In a rare moment of down time, we learn that she plays the guitar and sings beautifully.