Emanuel (Manny) Byas headshot photo

Emanuel (Manny) Byas

Seafloor Mapping Intern
College of Charleston

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

Ocean exploration has been my primary focus during the latter part of my undergraduate career at the College of Charleston, and I am consistently striving in learning about the different uses of multibeam bathymetry and its uses in seafloor mapping. As a geology major, my goal is to pay special attention to different geomorphologic features and processes that occur on our Earth, in order to present interpretations. Most Recently, I was able to conduct an independent study within the Blake Plateau of the southeast U.S. continental margin where I was able to interpret different geomorphologic features in order to explain some of the many natural processes that occur in the Atlantic Ocean. Another major research project I was a part of was examining stormwater pollutants in some local lakes of Charleston, SC. Hydrographic surveying is the career field in which I plan on pursuing when I graduate from CofC this coming May 2019, and I am most definitely looking forward to gaining imperative skills from working aboard the Nautilus so that I may become a vital asset to other, future projects.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Growing up, I was always fond of maps! I never really knew why at first, but I began to grasp a major fascination towards the many different roads and highways of the U.S. as well as their interactions towards the local terrain and natural features. It is safe to say that maps became my reasoning of majoring in geology at the College of Charleston, and my life completely changed after taking my Marine Geology class. Dr. Leslie Sautter was responsible for opening my mind up to the oceanography and hydrographic surveying field. Ever since then, I’ve been developing my time and skills in hydrographic research. Because of Doc, as we call her, I am super excited to be a part of the Seabed 2030 project.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I would have to say that my father has been the greatest influence of the major accomplishments of my life. He is the most hardworking individual I know, and I am truly thankful to have such an incredible figure in my life. My dad has taught me so many valuable lessons including how to be optimistic, always give back to people who are in need when you can, and advice on when it is appropriate to speed on the highway versus in town!

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

When it comes to the field of hydrography, what excites me the most is the idea of discovery! My research project this past semester, for example, involved me interpreting 3 different geomorphologic features of this previously mapped area upon the Blake Plateau, within the southeast U.S. continental margin. I discovered that there was an iceberg scour carved into the bathymetry of the northern part of my project, and I never even knew about them to begin with. It pleases me to know that there’s always a chance for me to discover something new! 

What other jobs led you to your current career?

At the beginning of my senior year at CofC, I have had the privilege of enrolling into the College of Charleston BEnthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey (BEAMS) program, where I acquired a substantial amount of knowledge in the study of oceanography, as well as learned the different uses of multibeam bathymetry through a couple of post-processing programs. The BEAMS program has drastically changed the outlook of my life because it broadened my horizons towards the ever-growing field of hydrography. At the 2019 THSOA US Hydro conference, I was able to present my research findings to a number of professionals, as well as future, potential employers. Additionally, for the past couple of years, I have played a vital role in the geology department at the College of Charleston by handling weekly set up of introductory geology labs as well as teaching basic geologic concepts to a wide scope of students. 

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Geology-- College of Charleston, 2019

What are your hobbies?

During the rare occasions when school and/or work are not consuming my life, I enjoy hiking various natural trails around the Charleston area. Other days I like to skateboard on some of the (very few) smoothly paved streets of downtown Charleston, including parts such as the battery. Lastly, if you consider eating a hobby, then that honestly consumes a lot of my free time. 

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

Alexandra Dawson has sailed on the Nautilus a couple of times, and I’ve known her for a few years, as we have spent some time in a few classes together at the College of Charleston. Most notably, she was my teaching assistant for my intro to sea maps class where she was able to further develop my skills in post-processing bathymetric surfaces. After I took the class, it was Alex who advertised the Nautilus Exploration Program, and I am super excited to go sailing for the first time!

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Be optimistic! As far as anything in life goes, always try to see the light in things. The field of hydrography can be complex, so it is always good to go in with a positive attitude! You may be assigned a task that may initially seem pointless at first, but in the end, the work that you are doing is super important and is for the betterment of the overall project. Never lose sight of your end goal, and always have a great attitude with what you are trying to accomplish. A lot of my success can probably be attributed to the positive outlook and enthusiasm that I have. I'll be the first to admit that I may not be an expert on everything, but I have the drive and determination to take the time to figure things out, and that is what make you stand out to employers. Nobody wants to hire an individual who appears nervous and unsure about their work. Confidence is key! 


Emanuel (Manny) participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: