Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover is a deep-sea biologist with an interest in ocean exploration and the ecology of chemosynthetic ecosystems. She began her work in this field in 1982, joining the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. After earning a Master's degree in ecology from UCLA in 1985, she continued her graduate education in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. There she joined numerous expeditions and published on diverse topics such as reproductive strategies and recruitment of vent invertebrates, vent food webs, and taxonomic descriptions of new species. In 1989, she described a novel photoreceptor in a vent invertebrate, which in turn led to discovery and characterization of a geothermal source of light at vents and investigations of its biological significance. On receiving her Ph.D. in 1989, Van Dover joined the group that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. She qualified as pilot in 1990 and was pilot-in-command of 48 dives.
Hometown: Eatontown, NJ
Education: Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography
Occupation: Deep-Sea biologist; Director, Duke University Marine Laboratory and Harvey W. Smith Professor of Biological Oceanography
Expeditions: Undersea mountain ranges: Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Central Indian Ridge, East Pacific Rise, Pacific Antarctic Ridge, Juan de Fuca Ridge, Gorda Ridge, Mohn’s Ridge, Galapagos Spreading Center, Manus Basin, Lau Basin, Fiji Basin
Favorite Place to Be: Under the sea
Personal Heroes: Fred Grassle, Robert Hessler, Robert Ballard, and Rachel Carson
Best Discovery: Strange eyes in deep-sea shrimp and geothermal light on the sea floor
Favorite Item in the Field: The deep-diving submersible Alvin
Book: Deep-Ocean Journeys: Discovering New Life at the Bottom of the Sea
Advice: Search out and engage in opportunities that take you beyond where you ever expected to be.