The C-IMAGE project has scientists at many stages in their career. Meet three C-IMAGE research technicians who are vital to the at sea field and on shore lab research for C-IMAGE: Karen Dreger, Jonelle Basso and Matt Garrett. All have sailed many times aboard the C-IMAGE cruises which began in 2010. Enjoy their sea stories.

Karen Dreger, M.S., the SIPPER Captain

Karen Dreger is a Research Engineer Technologist at the University of South Florida. She operates and maintains the Shadowed Image Particle Profiling and Evaluation Recorder (SIPPER) instrument. SIPPER allows scientists to view zooplankton in their own environment and at scales that allow them to better understand how plankton interacts with each other and their surroundings. SIPPER also carries a suite of environmental sensors to monitor water quality parameters to better understand the environments in which the organisms live.

Karen Dreger on Bow WBII sunset during C-IMAGE Feb cruise




Karen has a diverse background in both the science and technology fields. In 2010 she earned a Masters degree in Environmental Science from USF. This is Karen’s 13th Oil Response cruise. She has spent over 90 days at sea traversing the Gulf of Mexico aboard research vessels.



C-IMAGE Jonelle Basso and DEEP-C Brian Wells collecting microbes from deepsea sediments collected from Shipek sediment grab during Feb C-IMAGE cruise


Jonelle Basso, M.S., Microbe Expert Jonelle Basso is a Marine Microbiology Laboratory Technician and a veteran sailor – this being her 9th trip to collect samples of marine microbes. Jonelle collects water samples from the Niskin Bottles and completes 2 types of tests on them. She runs a toxicity test using bioluminescent plankton and bacteria to measure how toxic the water is. The less light the little guys give off, the more toxic the water.

 Her other test is a mutigenicity test. She introduces 2 strains of E. Coli into the water samples to see if they stimulate phage production. Both tests help her determine the health of the water. When not at sea Jonelle teaches and works in the Microbiolgy Lab of C-IMAGE scientist, John Paul; Use this link to visit the lab  (


Matt Flynn (Eckerd), Jonelle Basso (USF, center), Matt MacGregor (C-IMAGE teacher) filtering seawater for Carbon Hydrogen Nitrogen (CHN) concentrations to be determined at on shore lab


Matt Garrett awaiting deployment of Niskin bottle rosette to collect seawater samples for nutrient analyses

Matt Garrett, AKA Onboard Seawater Filtration 
Matt Garrett is a scientists at the FWCC Florida Marine Research Institute in the Ecosystem Assessment & Restoration lab and has been working on Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) for the past several years. This project takes a multifaceted approach to understanding why we have the blooms, as well as when and where. The information his team collects and analyzes will be used to lessen the impacts of the blooms for both the environment and the public. 
Matt will soon begin his graduate program at USF’s College of Marine Science with C-IMAGE scientist Kendra Daly ( as his research advisor. He will continue to work in the lab and aboard the research vessels to better understand the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem’s recovery since the DWH blow-out event. Welcome to USF Matt!

Matt Garrett and Leslie Schwierzke-Wade (C-IMAGE Chief Scientist) Retrieving Niskin Bottles