Dr. Deborah Kelley

Chief Scientist
University of Washington

Dr. Deborah Kelley, is an associate professor in the School of Oceanography and Astrobiology program at the University of Washington, where she specializes in investigation of seafloor hydrothermal systems and geobiological processes. She has been involved in the discovery of numerous hydrothermal fields, which most recently includes that of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field and was Co-Chief scientist during the Alvin-ABE 2003 expedition to first investigate this site in detail. Dr. Kelley’s work currently focuses on examination of the linkages between geological and biological processes in systems supported by underwater volcanoes. She is developing prototype in situ microbial incubators that are yielding new insights into the conditions under which life thrives, survives and expires in extreme black smoker environments. Kelley is also helping to develop a new submarine fiber-optic cabled underwater observatory called “NEPTUNE” that will revolutionize how we interact with Earth and it’s oceans. She routinely uses the human-occupied submersible Alvin and robotic vehicles Jason, ROPOS, and Tiburon, and has been co-chief and chief scientist on numerous expeditions. She is a member of the Extreme Environments working group at the University of Washington, and greatly enjoys working with undergraduate and graduate students.

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