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with Scott Godwin
by Keeley Belva
Scott Godwin in action.
here to see where the Hi'ialakai is now.
here to see current data from the ship.
1. What is your affiliation, and where are you from?
a research specialist at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.
I grew up in Alabama but have spent most of the last 20 years
living and working near the ocean.
did you become interested in your particular field/profession?
became interested in marine invertebrates during my undergraduate
studies but my first job in marine science was working with
reef fish in the Bahamas. I did a Smithsonian Institution
research internship the summer before I graduated, which
focused on marine invertebrates in the Chesapeake Bay. Since
then I have focused exclusively on marine invertebrates.
3. Have you worked in the Hawaiian Archipelago before? Or
the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands?
I worked for the Smithsonian
Institution for 8 years and came to Hawaii to work for the
Bishop Museum in 1998. Since my move to Hawaii I have had
the opportunity to work throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands
and have been coming up to the NWHI every year since 1999.
4. Have you worked on a ship at sea before, such as this
I began working on research expeditions such as this while
at the Smithsonian Institution and am out at sea for 2-4
months a year.
5. What are your areas of interest, or your
I tend to be a generalist and am knowledgeable
about a variety of coral reef invertebrates. I focus on non-coral
marine invertebrates such as echinoderms (sea stars, sea
urchins and sea cucumbers), mollusks (snails, sea slugs),
crustaceans (crabs, shrimps and lobsters) and tunicates (sea
squirts). My particular focus is crabs and most echinoderms.
Another specialty of mine is marine alien species and how
they are transported by man-made mechanisms and what their
ecology is on coral reefs.
6. What excites you about working with these organisms?
diversity of shapes, how they move, how they eat and how
they reproduce is very fascinating. Many of these organisms
are some of nature’s best artwork and it is enjoyable
to be able to be exposed to it.
7. Any favorite stories about a particularly unique organism
from your field of interest, such as a unique story of working
with them, their ecology or unique adaptation the organism
I have always been fascinated by the variety of
adaptations shown by crabs to camouflage themselves, which
can create some stunning images but at small scales.
Pom-pom crab Lybia edmondsoni. Credit: J.W.Martin
8. Why were you interested in coming on this expedition?
is the most isolated archipelago in the world and there is
very little known about how or if populations of marine organisms
are connected with one another. The collections of marine
invertebrates we are conducting on this cruise are geared
for answering this question through the use of modern genetic
analysis and more classical taxonomy. I am interested in
both biogeography and classical taxonomy and therefore was
glad to be asked to participate in this effort.
9. What do you hope to find during this research trip?
have a set list of permitted organisms we are tasked with
collecting during a short time and I hope to be able to
fulfill our goals. I always see both new and familiar things
while diving in the Monument and it is always a pleasure
to have these experiences.
10. What do you think is the benefit of this work to conservation
in the Monument?
The kind of knowledge gained from this type
of project has benefits to both science and management. Knowing
how connected the populations of marine organisms are throughout
the archipelago, assists in dealing with choices in management
strategies that are in response to human and natural impacts
on these isolated islands. It is a privilege to have been
allowed to journey to this area for these many years and
have your work provide benefits back to those making decisions
on how to provide management.
here for maps of the region