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Ship-to-Shore: Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands 2

Live conversation from the R/V Falkor - Schmidt Ocean Institute


Admission fee
Free of charge



Reservation is required at the following link


On Ocean Space and TBA21–Academy Facebook pages

"Ship-to-Shore: Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands 2” is the title of a live conversation with researchers from the Schmidt Ocean Institute aboard the R/V Falkor, moderated by Markus Reymann, director of TBA21–Academy.

The conversation, taking place live from aboard the R/V Falkor, currently moored in the Phoenix Islands 2 archipelago (in the Pacific Ocean), will give us an insight into the deep-sea exploration and the study and analysis of deep-sea corals being conducted by the researchers on board, examining the corals’ longevity, the equator’s effect on them, and the presence of microbes.

Conversation moderated by Markus Reymann, director of TBA21–Academy with Randi Rotjan, chief scientist on the expedition and assistant professor at Boston University; Tim Shank, associate scientist at the biology department of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Alexis Weinning, research scientist at the Eastern Ecological Science Center in West Virginia.


In accordo con le regole per prevenire la diffusione del Covid-19, la capacità di Ocean Space è stata ridotta per garantire un'esperienza sicura.

Participation in the screening at Ocean Space is free but a reservation is required at this link.

The conversation will be conducted in English.

It will not be possible to reserve seats 10 minutes after the event has started.

A livestream of the conversation will be available on the Facebook pages for Ocean Space and TBA21–Academy.


The Schmidt Ocean Institute was established in 2009 and offers scientists and collaborating institutions free ship time aboard their research vessel Falkor. The Institute strives to advance the frontiers of ocean research and exploration through technological innovation, operational support, and open sharing of information. Schmidt Ocean Institute's Artist-at-Sea program was established in 2015 so that artists from broad disciplines could work together with scientists to gain inspiration from the research and share about complex ocean issues in new ways. Since 2015, over 36 artists have voyaged aboard the research vessel Falkor, and more than 100 pieces have been showcased in 16 exhibits in 12 cities.


Randi Rotjan, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at Boston University in the Department of Biology and the BU Marine Program. Her research focuses mainly on marine ecology, conservation biology, and global change. Rotjan has been leading the science program for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) since 2010. PIPA is the worlds’ largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site, and serves as an important natural climate laboratory that is fully closed to all commercial extractive activities. Rotjan is the founder and co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee, which supports the science needs of both the PIPA Trust and the PIPA Management Committee. She is also the co-Chief Scientist of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust. Rotjan is also a Faculty Associate at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. She is a member of the Board of Directors for The Nature Conservancy – Caribbean, and was a recent finalist for a Pew Marine Fellowship. Rotjan received her B.S. from Cornell University and her doctorate from the Biology Department at Tufts University. She then held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She then joined the Research Department at the New England Aquarium, where she ran a laboratory as an Associate Research Scientist for 8 years prior to joining the faculty at Boston University. She is a member of the W2O (Women Working for Oceans) and the Explorers Club, has been on the editorial board of 4 scientific journals, and has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. She was a member of the science team for Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands.


Tim Shank is a deep-sea biologist, an Associate Scientist in the Biology Department, and the former Director of the Ocean Exploration Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The research in his lab is focused on understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that structure the diversity of deep-ocean benthic communities, including larval dispersal, colonization, habitat utilization, genetic connectivity, and the evolutionary relationships of invertebrate fauna. These studies include seamount, canyon, hadal and chemosynthetic ecosystems intimately tied to planetary processes significant to the evolution of life on earth. Current lines of research are focused on the diversity, biogeography, ecology, and co-evolution of faunal living in association with deep-water corals. During this expedition in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), he will conduct imaging and sampling of animals living on corals to examine patterns of symbiont distribution, diversity, and coral host specificity and function across seamounts in PIPA. Following the expedition, he will examine genetic identity, relatedness and connectivity of coral epifauna to assess biogeographic and evolutionary relationships with their host corals. His laboratory is conducting similar comparative projects in the Northeast US canyons, Gulf of Mexico, southern Caribbean seamounts, Remote Pacific region, and western Pacific seamounts. Tim has conducted more than 60 scientific expeditions in the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and has completed more than 50 dives in Alvin, and more than 100 dives with autonomous underwater and remotely-operated vehicles, including the first use of a hybrid ROV (Nereus) in the ocean’s deepest trenches. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers, and recently the award winning best-selling book “Discovering the Deep.” Tim and Erik hosted the 6th International Symposium on Deep Sea Corals in Boston last year, and Tim has enjoyed serving on numerous scientific panels and national and international committees, leading to research, conservation, and management guidelines for seamount and chemosynthetic ecosystems, oil spill response efforts, international initiatives, and setting international priorities for deep-ocean exploration and research.


Alexis Weinnig is a contracted Research Scientist with the US Geological Survey at the Eastern Ecological Science Center in West Virginia and a Guest Investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is broadly interested in the ecology, population structure, and human influence on cold-water coral and other deep-sea ecosystems. Alexis has participated in research cruises using submersibles and remotely operated vehicles in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Atlantic Ocean off of the southeastern United States, and the central Pacific Ocean. This will be her third research cruise along the Phoenix Archipelago, including as part of the first Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands team in 2017. Alexis received her BS in Oceanography at Florida Institute of Technology, followed by an MS in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at San Francisco State University and The California Academy of Sciences, and a PhD in Biology at Temple University.