Cindy Lee Van Dover main content.
Cindy Lee Van Dover

How is Cindy Lee Van Dover involved with deep sea vents?

Cindy Lee Van Dover is an oceanographer and explorer with a strong background in ecology and invertebrate zoology. Her work deals with the ecology of deep sea vent communities. Cindy was Alvin's first femal pilot. She has led many Alvin expeditions to study deep sea vents and collect specimens for further study.

What's Cindy's take on kids and deep sea vents?

Why should kids know about deep sea vents?

If we are to understand very basic properties of our planet, we need to understand how seawater and rock interact to form hot springs, a process that helps to create the chemistry of our deep oceans. There are also many reasons to think that life might have evolved at deep sea vents; our very origins may be linked to these primeval-looking habitats!

How can students everywhere be good stewards of the oceans?

One should study vents for all the same reasons that we study coral reefs and coastal waters, rain forests, and Arctic ice. We want to know how they work, how they compare; and that way we can protect them. It's about having a sense of "place," of understanding all of our planet. And, if for no other reason, one should know about vents because they are stunningly beautiful. The geological formations rival the grandeur of any of the fabulous national parks. The animal communities are as vibrant and beautiful as any tropical coral reef. The vents are truly part of Earth's wilderness.

More on Cindy Van Dover the Person
Field of Study Oceanography, with an emphasis on the ecology of deep sea chemosynthetic communities.
Hometown Eatontown, New Jersey (Exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway), which is about five miles from where Bruce Springsteen grew up and about five miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
Favorite Middle/High School Subjects "I loved all the sciences, especially biology when I was in high school."
Least Favorite Middle/High School Subjects "I disliked math and English."
Thoughts on Middle "I wish I had known how interesting and dynamic the Earth sciences are. When I was in high school, Earth science was for the non-college track of students. I wish I had known that if I went to college as a geology major, I would be required to go to geology field camp out west."
Interests in Middle "I was a reader when I was young and still am. I traveled as much as I was allowed then, and still do."
Interests Today "Writing is a hobby now. I love to dance."
Life Lessons from the Field "I am not a complacent person. I don¹t like to think that I might be ordinary. Yet I think I am very ordinary and so continually pursue the exceptional."
Major Influences "My parents were very influential, instilling a strong work ethic. My mom taught me to love nature; my dad taught me to love technology. My biology teac