Beth Orcutt, PhD

Vice President for Research
Senior Research Scientist
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 312

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B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies, Summa Cum Laude, University of Georgia, 2002

Ph.D., Marine Sciences, University of Georgia, 2007

Research Interests

Dr. Orcutt is the Vice President for Research at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, a position she has held since July 2022. In this role, Orcutt guides the research priorities for the institution and serves as the Authorized Organizational Representative for external backers of sponsored and contracted research projects. She also helps promote technology transfer, outreach, and partnership building.

In addition to being the VPR, Dr. Orcutt has been a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory since 2012, where she leads a team specialized in the study of deep-sea microbial life and the impact of microbial activity on chemical cycles. Recently, she has been leading efforts to understand the ecosystem services that microbes provide in some of the deep-sea ecosystems that may be targeted for deep-sea mining and subseafloor carbon sequestration. For her research, Dr. Orcutt uses robots, submarines, seafloor scientific drilling, and observatories to explore and monitor life in the deep sea and below the seafloor. She has spent over 600 days at sea on over 30 research missions. In addition to leading research teams, Orcutt is the Associate Director of the Crustal Ocean Biosphere Research Accelerator (COBRA) network with a mission to accelerate research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere and inform decision making. Orcutt was awarded the Asahiko Taira Prize for Scientific Ocean Drilling Research in 2019 from the American Geophysical Union, the largest international scientific society for Earth and space science. She received her Ph.D. degree in Marine Sciences from the University of Georgia, Athens.

Keywords: deep sea, deep biosphere, geomicrobiology, microbial biogeochemistry, astrobiology, oceanic crust, marine sediment, cold seeps, microbe-mineral interactions, observatories, deep-sea mining

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