Benedicte B. Ritt
Bénédicte holds a PhD from the Université de Bretagne Occidentale and Ifremer (France). Before arriving at the Temple University in the Cordes Lab as postdoctoral researcher, Bénédicte was interested in the structure, functioning and dynamics of different faunal assemblages associated with cold seep ecosystems in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. She participated in three cruises with the Nautile submersible and ROVs, exploring mud volcanoes, pockmarks and fault systems in the Marmara Sea, the Mediterranean ridge and the Nile deep-sea fan. She collaborates with a multidisciplinary scientific community: microbiologists, geologists, geochemists and taxonomists, aimed at (1) determining the community structure, (2) characterizing the biogeochemical conditions in the vicinity of the organisms, and (3) understanding the links between the spatial distribution of these communities and the environmental parameters at local and regional scales. Currently, Bénédicte’s research is focused on the benthic communities from the Gulf of Mexico where both seep fauna and cold-water corals co-occur. She is working on the links between their spatial distribution and environmental data. She will also be involved in cold-water coral community phylogenetics and in assessing impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on these ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.