Cindy Lee Van Dover

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover is a deep-sea biologist with a special interest in the biology of hydrothermal vents and other chemosynthetic communities. She began her work in this field in 1982, joining the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. Earning a Master's degree in ecology from UCLA in 1985, she continued her graduate education in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. There she further developed her interests in vent biology, joining numerous expeditions and publishing several papers on diverse topics such as reproductive strategies and recruitment of vent invertebrates, vent food webs, and taxonomic descriptions of new species. Her most significant work has been the discovery of a novel photoreceptor in a vent invertebrate and subsequent investigations of sources of light at vents and its biological significance.

On receiving her Ph.D. in 1989, Van Dover joined the group that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. She qualified as pilot in 1990 and was pilot-in command of 48 dives. Her work with ALVIN has taken her to nearly all of the known vent fields in the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as to deep-water sea mounts, seeps and other significant seafloor features. She has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is an active participant and chief-scientist in NSF-and NOAA-sponsored field programs to hydrothermal vents.

In 1994-1995, retired from piloting, Van Dover was awarded a one-year appointment as the McCurdy Scholar at Duke University's Marine Laboratory, where she taught undergraduate seminars in hydrothermal vent biology. In June 1996, she moved to Fairbanks Alaska to become Science Director of the West Coast National Undersea Research Center base at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an associate research professor in the Institute of Marine Science at UAF and continues her research on hydrothermal vents. Dr. Van Dover is currently an Assistant Professor in The Biology Department at the College of William & Mary.

In addition to research, Van Dover has authored a popular book for the lay audience about the deep sea and her experiences as an ALVIN pilot (Deep-Ocean Journeys; Addison-Wesley, 1997). She is also the author of the first textbook on hydrothermal vents (The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents; Princeton University Press, 2000).