The Team

Ship Location

Channel Islands, USA

Megan Lubetkin

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

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

My research interests are primarily in the fields of marine geology and geophysics. In college, I became increasingly fascinated by the tectonics/structure of the ocean while learning about hydrothermal systems and submarine volcanism. I completed my undergraduate senior thesis on the hydrothermal biomineralization of nontronite and Fe-oxides collected from a seamount in the Galapagos during the 2015 E/V Nautilus season. I’ve also been involved with projects characterizing the morphology, structure and volcanic history of seamounts and other seafloor features using marine geophysical data and seafloor imagery. My Master's thesis will focus on the eruption mechanisms and products of the 1993 submarine eruption at Socorro Island, which produced basaltic balloons. The final cruise of the 2017 E/V Nautilus season will explore the Revillagigedo Archipelago including the location of this basaltic balloon-forming eruption. Overall, I am passionate about exploring the oceans and understanding the geological, physical, and chemical systems governing them.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

When I was 14 years old my family moved to the coast of Maine. Before then, the ocean was merely 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 fascinating element of my work in the field of marine geology is the thrill of discovering new features and collaborating with teams of scientists to understand how they formed. 

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I’ve had many opportunities to study my interests in school, both in the US and abroad. In 2014, I spent a semester at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole and on board the SSV Corwith Cramer on a transatlantic sail. In 2015, I spent a semester in New Zealand at the University of Otago where I focused my studies on remote sensing technologies, photogrammetry, and geographic information systems. I also enjoyed working as a teaching assistant in the Geology Department at Bates College. Most recently, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a research assistant under Dr. Dan Fornari. I also recently worked at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology as a curatorial assistant. Finally, my experiences on board the E/V Nautilus as an intern in 2015 and as a Science Manager in 2016 have been incredibly influential in my academic life. All of these academic and work experiences have helped lead me to my current career path. 

What are your degrees and certifications?

I recently graduated from Bates College in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and general concentrations in ‘Water and Society,’ ‘North Atlantic Studies,’ and ‘Philosophy.’ In the Fall of 2017, I will start my Masters in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. I am also PADI certified Rescue Diver and hold certifications in outdoor first aid and emergency management. 

What are your hobbies?

Most of my time off the ship and out of the lab/classroom is spent doing something active and exciting in the mountains, playing Indian classical music and jazz on my cello, biking, and traveling.

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

The best advice I can give to young aspiring oceanographers 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.

"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."