Part of the Centre for Geobiology (CGB) was also to build up an international network. Originally PhD student and later Post-Doc Researcher, Swiss national Tamara Baumberger, ably demonstrates a portion of this network.
Farm girl to hydrothermal fluid expert
Tamara Baumberger began working on her PhD at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, one of the world’s leading universities for technology and the natural sciences. Her supervisor was Gretchen Früh-Green a professor and senior scientist at ETH, who, among other things, is renowned for her work following the discovery of the Lost City vents field in 2000. Früh-Green is involved in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and had thereby become one of the international collaborators of Rolf Birger Pedersen, the first CGB leader. As a result, Baumberger participated in her first CGB research cruise summer 2007. She has participated in every Centre cruise since!
Starting with few interesting rocks, but lots of interesting water!
While in 2007 they were unsuccessful in collecting some of the serpentine rocks Baumberger had been hoping to use in her PhD work. However, together with another international partner and collaborator, Marvin Lilley, she collected water column samples that helped to locate CGB’s first black smoker vent find, the Loki’s Castle Vent Fields, in 2008. Through their fluids’ analyses work of the next years, Baumbergen and Lilley were able to demonstrate that the Loki’s Castle Vent Fields were not ultra-mafic hydrothermal vents as might have been expected, but rather more basaltic.
The on-going fluid sampling work continued every summer and the results have contributed to the growing understanding that hydrothermal fluids are a kind of fingerprint of hydrothermal systems. The dissolved gases contained in the fluids provide insights into the origins of the system and give indications of the geological structures underlying a vent by providing information about the types of reactions the gases and fluids have undergone as they have risen through the system.
World becomes smaller!
Baumberger is a concrete example of the value of international network building, especially in a field as technically demanding and costly as deep sea exploration. International networks make it possible to share resources such as specialised equipment and laboratories, ship time etc. Baumberger herself has participated in several NOAA research cruises, using her fluid expertise to provide valuable information about the nature of the particular hydrothermal system under investigation. Learn more about her next NOAA cruise here.
Baumberger continues CGB’s network building as she leaves Norway to undertake a new NOAA post-doc position in Newport Oregon: from FishTown (Bergen) to OysterTown (Newport)! However, the CGB bonds are strong, and Tamara will continue to be involved in Centre activity, including supervising a CGB PhD student, Anne Stensland. There was standing room only in the CGB meeting room as Baumberger gave her final lecture summarising the research highlights of her years at the Centre. On her way to Newport, she will first take part in a research cruise to the Mariana Subduction System in the south Pacific, where she will use her fluid chemistry skills to look for hydrothermal activity along the system’s back arc.