The mission of COBRA is to accelerate research on the structure, function, resilience and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to inform decision making

Contact Us

© Ocean Exploration Trust NA134 2021

Why is this needed?

The Problem: The rapid development of industrial-scale tools for mining of deep seafloor mineral/crustal deposits has outpaced the scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of this activity, which could rival or exceed in scale the impacts of deep-sea fishing. Likewise, there is accelerating interest in carbon sequestration in oceanic crust as a strategy to mitigate climate change, but short- and long-term effects are poorly understood.

The Challenge: We need to accelerate scientific understanding of deep-sea crustal ecosystems and their resilience to inform decision making, prevent serious harm, and provide benefit to society. However, we are hampered by limited deep-sea research and monitoring assets, a relatively small community of scientists focused on these questions, and data access issues.

Our Solution: COBRA is an international, virtual research coordination network that brings together diverse stakeholders from academia, government, resource management, industry, and policy-making to identify priority issues and coordinate efforts to address them while training future generations in inclusive ocean exploration, policy, research, and making data more accessible.

Learn More

How does COBRA work?

COBRA set out ambitious goals in our proposal to the U.S. National Science Foundation to achieve our mission with activities to coordinate, accelerate, translate and educate.  See our logic model for a roadmap of how we intend COBRA to work with the relationships among the resources in our program, the activities we plan to do, and the outcomes and impacts we hope to achieve. Our collaboration plan outlines key processes related to team functioning for COBRA, including communication, coordination, decision making, leadership, management, administration, and conflict prevention.  Other terms of reference: Executive Committee Membership.

As a virtual research coordination network, COBRA asks all participants to abide by our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy in line with our commitment to contributing to making deep-sea research more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Meet Our Team

COBRA is led by a team of scientists from across the US in collaboration with national and international partner organizations

Beth Orcutt
Beth OrcuttDirector, PI
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Expertise: Geomicrobiology

Julie Huber
Julie HuberAssociate Director, Co-I
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Expertise: Marine microbiology

Rosalynn Sylvan
Rosalynn SylvanManaging Director
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Expertise: Administration

Andrew Fisher
Andrew FisherCo-I
University of California Santa Cruz

Expertise: Hydrogeology, COBRA Ethics and Code of Conduct

Randi Rotjan
Randi RotjanCo-I
Boston University

Expertise: Marine ecology and global change, COBRA Master Class

Geoff Wheat
Geoff WheatCo-I
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Expertise: Geochemistry, COBRA Knowledge Transfer

Ana Hilário
Ana Hilário
University of Aveiro, Portugal

Partner: Challenger 150

Kerry Howell
Kerry Howell
University of Plymouth, UK

Partner: Challenger 150

Daniela Loock
Daniela Loock
University of Victoria, Canada

Partner: Ocean Networks Canada

Daniel Wagner
Daniel Wagner
Partner: Ocean Exploration Trust
Sheryl Murdock
Sheryl Murdock
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

Early Career Representative

Scientific guidance is needed now more than ever to inform emerging deep-sea industries to advise sustainability and prevent serious harm.

Beth Orcutt, COBRA Director

© Ocean Exploration Trust NA134 2021

COBRA Partners

COBRA’s network-of-networks leverages the strength of partner organizations representing various international deep-sea stakeholders.