Beth Orcutt, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
Interim Vice President for Research
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 312
Fax: +1 (207) 315-2329

For media inquiries, please contact


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

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

Research Interests

Dr. Orcutt has been a Senior Research Scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences 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 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 to 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 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, observatories, deep-sea mining

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