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Debbie Kelley



  • Higher Ed: Science, Researcher 


Deborah S. Kelley is a Professor in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. Her early work focused on the composition and evolution of magmatic and hydrothermal fluids at mid-ocean ridges. Her current research examines the linkages between submarine volcanoes, underwater hot springs, and how they support life in the absence of sunlight. In 2000, she was part of the team that discovered the Lost City Hydrothermal Field hosting 150,000 year-old carbonate chimneys that rise 60 above the seafloor. She has participated in over 35 blue-water cruises, has routinely sailed as Chief or Co-Chief Scientist, and has been on over 50 Alvin deep-sea submersible dives to depths as great as 4000 meters. She has been involved with the cabled component of the National Science Foundations Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) since its inception, was chair of the national Deep Submergence Science Committee, and Co-Chair of the Replacement Committee for the human occupied submersible Alvin. She is the UW Director for the OOI Cabled Array. She is passionate about engaging students in oceanography/geosciences. Each summer she takes 15-45 undergraduates out to sea for several weeks on the UW global class research ship. The students work alongside experienced scientists, engineers, and ships crew members to gain at-sea research and sea-going experience using advanced oceanographic research instruments and robotic vehicles (see


oceanography, marine geology, submarine volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, life in extreme environments, use of underwater robotic vehicles and human occupied submersibles 


Karson, J.A., D.S. Kelley, D.J. Fornari, M.R. Perfit, and T.M. Shank, 2015 Discovering the Deep, A Photographic Atlas of the Seafloor and Oceanic Crust. Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9780521857185, 527 pp.<p>Kelley, D.S., J.R. Delaney, and S.K. Juniper, 2014 Establishing a New Era of Submarine Volcanic Observatories: Cabling Axial Seamount and the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, Marine Geology 50th Anniversary Special Volume, 352, 426-450.

Kelley, D.S., et al., 2012 The Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge: One of the Most Remarkable Places on Earth. Oceanography 25(1), 44-61.

Kelley, D.S. and T.M. Shank, 2010 Hydrothermal Systems: A decade of discovery in slow-spreading centers, in Diversity of Hydrothermal Systems on Slow-Spreading Ocean Ridges, eds. P.A. Rona, C.W. Devey, J. Dyment, B.J. Murton, Geophysical Monograph, 188, Amer. Geophys. Union, 369-407.

Brazelton, W.J., et al., 2009 Archaea and bacteria with surprising microdiversity shw shifts in dominance over 1,000-year time scales in hydrothermal chimneys. Proceed. Nat. Acad. Sci. doi/10.1073/pnas.0905369107.

Martin, W., J.A. Baross, D.S. Kelley, and M.J. Russel, 2008 Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life. Nature Reviews Microbiology, doi:10.1038/nrmicro1991, 1-10.

Proskurowski, G., et al., 2008 Abiogenic hydrocarbon production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field, Science, 319, 604-607.

Kelley, D.S., et al., 2007 The Lost City hydrothermal field revisited. Oceanography, 20, 90-99.

Kelley, D.S. et al., 2005 A serpentinite-hosted submarine ecosystem: The Lost City Hydrothermal Field. Science, 307, 1428-1434.