Erik Cordes (Program Manager), Temple University

Dr. Erik Cordes is an Associate Professor of Biology at Temple University and has an appointment as the Vice Chair of the Department of Biolog . He has worked on the ecology of hydrocarbon seeps and deep-sea corals for over 20 years. He has spent over 15 months at sea on 27 research cruises, 9 as Chief Scientist. He has made a total of 36 submersible dives in the DSVs Alvin (12) and Johnson Sea-Link (24), and has spent a total of 215 working days at sea using the ROVs Jason II, Hercules, Global Explorer, ATV, Ventana, Schilling UHD, and SeaView Falcon DR, as well as the AUV Sentry. The research in his lab is focused on understanding the areas of the deep sea that support the highest biomass communities: deep-water coral reefs, natural hydrocarbon seeps, and hydrothermal vents. He studies these ecosystems at all levels of organization, from energy flow in ecosystems and patterns of community assembly, down to gene expression and microbial processes. Dr. Cordes worked on deep-sea corals for his Master’s thesis at Moss Landing Marine Labs, worked on cold-seep ecology for his Ph.D. at Penn State University, and studied the microbial communities within hydrothermal vent chimneys during his NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard. At Temple, his lab has continued to explore the deep Gulf of Mexico while working on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea coral communities and the effects of ocean acidification on the reef-forming deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa. Ongoing investigations in the Cordes lab extend to the corals of the deep seamounts in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the central Pacific and the seeps off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. His Ph.D. thesis involved the use of data from the MMS Chemo II project, and he was a coPI on the Lophelia I, Lophelia II, and Chemo III projects in the Gulf of Mexico. His work has also been funded by NSF, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. His research efforts have been recognized at Temple University by the Caldwell Distinguished Mentoring Award and the Dean’s Distinguished Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Cordes is also among the Pool of Experts for the ongoing UN World Ocean Assessment, the Chair of the Oil & Gas Working Group of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative, and on the Board of Directors for a non-profit conference center in New Hampshire.