The Team

Ship Location

Papahānaumokuākea MNM, USA

Megan Lubetkin

Photo of Megan Lubetkin
Science / Data Team
Graduate Student
University of Rhode Island -Graduate School of Oceanography

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

My research is primarily in the fields of marine geology and geophysics. In college, I became increasingly fascinated by ocean structure while learning about hydrothermal systems and submarine volcanism. Some of my research interests include morphology, structure, and volcanic history of seamounts; hydrothermal biomineralization; marine geophysical data collection and interpretation; and seafloor imaging. For my master’s thesis, I am focusing on the eruption mechanisms and products of the 1993 submarine eruption at Socorro Island, which produced basaltic balloons. During the final cruise of the 2017 Nautilus season, we explored the Revillagigedo Archipelago including the location of this basaltic balloon-forming eruption. Overall, I am passionate about exploring our oceans and understanding the geological, physical, and chemical systems governing them.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

When I was in high school my family moved to the coast of Maine. Before then, the ocean was just a memory from childhood vacations on sandy beaches. As I began to explore tide pools and rock formations surrounding the coastlines near my home, I quickly developed a love for the ocean and its rich diversity of life. We all rely on the health of our oceans; they link every culture and society on this planet. From an early age, I hoped to explore the complex systems and structure of the ocean in order to understand how we may better coexist with its diverse ecosystems.  

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

All of my middle and high school science teachers were tremendously supportive and encouraged me to never stop asking questions. For as long as I can remember, my parents and family members have always encouraged me to pursue my passions in science and in life. While in high school, I heard Dr. Robert Ballard speak about ocean exploration and hydrothermal vents. From that moment, I knew it was a dream of mine to join the Corps of Exploration. I followed Nautilus Live ever since. 

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

The most fascinating element of my work is the thrill of discovering new features and collaborating with colleagues to understand how they formed and what they can tell us about our planet and perhaps other ocean worlds.  

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I am fortunate to have had several opportunities to explore my interests both academically and through a variety of research and teaching assistantships. Working as a teaching assistant and outreach scientist has helped me develop skills to communicate science and excite students from kindergarten through college on topics like volcanoes and exploration. While I was a research assistant at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, I was able to experience collaborative marine geological research before beginning graduate school. Collecting samples is a central part of my job on Nautilus as a Science Manager, so understanding the process of curating these samples on land has been very helpful. I recently worked at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology as a curatorial assistant and currently work at the Marine Geological Samples Lab as a curatorial assistant. All of these academic and work experiences have helped lead me to my current career path.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science - Geology - Bates College, 2016.
Master of Science - Oceanography - University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, expected 2019.
PADI certified Rescue Diver. Outdoor first aid and emergency management certified.  

What are your hobbies?

I love climbing, surfing, camping, diving, and riding my motorcycle. I am also a musician (cello and bass mostly) and love playing music with my friends. Traveling and adventures of all kinds inspire me scientifically and creatively. 

What advice would you give someone who is interested in a career like yours?

The best advice I can give to young aspiring oceanographers (or anyone) is to never stop asking why. Study what you love and look for opportunities that relate to your passions, but always be open to projects that may help you narrow down your interests. Taking chances and being proactive is how I got on Nautilus.    

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

I first got involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program as an Ocean Science and Seafloor Mapping Intern in 2015. Since then I have returned to sea with Nautilus every season as both a science manager and scientist. 

"We all rely on the health of our oceans, they link every culture and society on this planet. While on board the Nautilus, I look forward to exploring the complex systems and structure of the ocean in order to understand how we may better coexist with its diverse ecosystems."