Professor Cindy Van Dover, Ph.D

Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment

Professor Cindy Van Dover, Ph.D. is the Harvey W. Smith Distinguished Professor of Biological Oceanography at Duke University.  She was an early explorer of deep-sea hydrothermal vents, joining the first biological expedition in 1982 to the Galapagos hot springs.  She earned her PhD from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in Oceanography in 1989.  She then joined the team that operates the deep-submergence vehicle Alvin and became a US Navy-certified Alvin pilot in 1990. In her career, she has made nearly 100 dives to the deep seabed, including 48 dives as Pilot-in-Command of Alvin.  She has also been an early adopter of deep-submergence technology, including the ROV Jason, the AUV Sentry, and telepresence, and has served as Chief Scientist on numerous major deep-sea expeditions. In 2000, Van Dover wrote the first textbook on the ecology of hydrothermal vents.  Her research includes more than 150 peer-reviewed papers on the biogeography, trophic ecology, and species’ adaptations in vent ecosystems. In recent years, she has become a leader in the emergent field of deep-sea environmental management, particularly in the context of deep-sea mining in international waters.