Chang Liu – Scientist Interview Series

Can you introduce yourself please?

Hey my name is Chang Liu I’m a PhD student from Louisiana State University. I’m sailing in this scientific expedition as a sedimentologist so my work during this two months cruise is basically focusing on the core description and making smear slide and doing the microbio microscope description work.

How many times have you sailed on a research vessel?

I never sailed before but since this is gonna be my first sailing experience as a scientist.

So we’ve been on the boat for a couple of weeks now how are you finding living on a ship?

I’m finding that time passes really slow – this is only the second week, but I feel like we’ve already been here for a month. So, I feel like the work is really intense. You learn a lot, you work a lot, but also you find your life is really easy and simple because every day you are facing the same group of people. You’re going to the same place and you can’t get out from the ship. But I’m so far I’m really enjoying it because I learned a lot from the scientists from all around the world and I got a lot of work done which is really nice.

What made you decide to apply for expedition 368?

Well the IODP expedition 368 is the scientific exploration of the South China Sea basin. It happens that my PhD research work is also on the South China Sea basin. That expedition occurred 3 years ago, and my advisor was on the ship taking a sample for me. That’s what my whole PhD dissertation about – so that triggers my interest to do more further research and study about this marginal Basin in a South China Sea. That’s why I want to apply as a scientist sailing there and try to learn and study how the deep-sea drilling how the process works how we get a samples and that also I would like to know about more about this Basin and to complete my personal interests.

So how does your work as a sedimentologist help achieve the objectives of expedition 368?

Well I would say everything from this scientific research is based on drilling cores, which means we are using the drilling bits and taking sedimentary cores from the sea. As a sedimentologist, we are the first group of people who get an accessibility to see how the core looks like. We give our description about the cores lithology.

We have the scientific objectives for that expedition but every scientist here has interests. What individual research interests do you have in studying core samples from the coring sites?

Well my major job on the ship is just to describe the cores. Basically telling people what we saw using geological and sedimentology terms. But after the cruise my personal research interesting could be focusing on some really old sediments which we have never reached before and I’d like to create a value environmental variation records using the cores I obtained from this expedition. I would like to apply some geochemistry analysis on the cores and combining with my previous research to create a complete long term paleogeography and then paleoclimatic  records for this area. I would also like to see if it’s any correlation between the Southeast Asia area and the global during the Cenozoic. This has never been done by the previous drilling so I think really exciting.

When you’re not being a scientist on board a research vessel or in your university what do you do for fun?

 I go to the gym a lot and I play basketball a lot. I like hiking and walking around, traveling, and of course, I like enjoying good food around everywhere when I’m not doing a science work.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think IODP is a really really good chance for younger and junior scientists to get involved and to learn about this drilling deep-sea drilling things. So I’d like more people to know about this and they can apply and take part in this. It’s a really good chance for people to discover the world and then I think this whole thing need everyone’s support around the world that’s it.


Chang – describing smear slide samples in the Sedimentology lab. – photo by Tim Fulton

International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 368 South China Sea Rifted Margin

Chang celebrated his birthday with us on board – photo by Tim Fulton

International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 368 South China Sea Rifted Margin

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