The Team

Ship Location


Nicole Raineault

Expedition Leader
Director of Science Operations
Ocean Exploration Trust

Nicole is a marine geologist with interests in coastal to deep-sea environments. Her research involves studying the seafloor using autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technology equipped with imaging, sampling, and mapping instruments. She studies the interactions between seafloor geology, waves, currents, and biology in different environments including mud volcanoes, cold seeps, beaches, shellfish beds, and artificial reefs. She has a special love for sand and mud, but the rock saw is her new favorite tool on Nautilus! She is excited about testing the new Herc rock hammer in the Galapagos!

Nicole graduated from the University of Maine in 2006 with a B.S. in marine science and minor in geology. She received a Masters of Science in oceanography from Rutgers University in 2008. In 2012 she earned her PhD in geology from the University of Delaware.

"I am excited to explore some historically and scientifically revolutionary places this year including the Galapagos Rift, where deep-sea hydrothermal vents and chemosynthetic life were first discovered practically in the backyard of Darwin's laboratory (the Galapagos Islands)!"