Dr. John Dindo

Dr. John Dindo

Director of Operations - Senior Marine Scientist III

Bio

1990, Ph.D., Biology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Major – Coastal Marine Ecology

John Dindo grew up in Barre, Vermont, and was drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1967. He was trained in Morse code and was stationed in Alaska to help intercept Soviet messages. He also spent about nine months in Vietnam. 

After leaving the military, Dindo returned to Alaska and enrolled at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, earning a B.S. degree in fisheries science. He planned to remain in Alaska to study salmon migration, but research funding was in short supply so he began to look elsewhere for work. His college roommate had been accepted into dental school at UAB and sent Dindo some literature about DISL. That led Dindo to check out the sea lab, and along the way, he met UAB biologist Bob McGregor. Dindo’s interest in salmon migration seemed to mesh nicely with McGregor’s work on the migration of birds, so Dindo was admitted to the DISL graduate program through UAB with Ken Marion as his Major Professor. He did most of his work at Dauphin Island, but spent nine months in Birmingham, taking classes, teaching, and working as a laboratory assistant.

"I studied salmon in Alaska, but at UAB my master’s work focused on the striped mullet, a fish that has a behavioral pattern similar to that of salmon, migrating in large schools for reproduction. I continued to have an interest in migration, and for my doctorate, I studied the migration patterns of a colony of herons and egrets on Cat Island in the Mississippi Sound, which is about eight miles from the sea lab. The birds migrate from South and Central America for reproduction in the spring. "

"A key factor on any island, whether you are studying humans, plants, or birds, is the impact of hurricanes. We’ve had two major hurricanes in the past 10 years—Georges and Katrina—that directly impacted the site of my studies. The storms stripped the island of vegetation, and we developed a proposal to help re-establish the habitat.”

Dindo has developed an interest in creatures that live in the deepest parts of the ocean. He was part of a crew that used the Johnson Sea Link, a four-person submersible, to dive in 2,100 feet of water about 250 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

On his deep-sea work:
“We spent three days diving in that depth, studying animals that live around areas of methane gas. These are worms, clams, crabs and other animals that exist on sulfur and methane products. Our work was similar to Dr. Robert Ballard’s findings around the smoker vents near the Galapagos Islands, although we worked around cold methane vents while Ballard discovered heated vents. Our dives went to water that was 4 degrees centigrade, with no light, so it is a very harsh environment.

On the rewards of marine science: 
“As we speak, I am looking over the Gulf of Mexico at a lighthouse that was built in 1877, and I know that each day here presents something different. I get to go into the field and I get to teach, from kindergarten students to a group of retired paper-mill employees who are coming here next week. The diversity of my work is what makes it so interesting, and that’s what makes me want to keep doing the job.”

Research Interest

"I studied salmon in Alaska, but at UAB my master’s work focused on the striped mullet, a fish that has a behavioral pattern similar to that of salmon, migrating in large schools for reproduction. I continued to have an interest in migration, and for my doctorate, I studied the migration patterns of a colony of herons and egrets on Cat Island in the Mississippi Sound, which is about eight miles from the sea lab. The birds migrate from South and Central America for reproduction in the spring. "

"A key factor on any island, whether you are studying humans, plants, or birds, is the impact of hurricanes. We’ve had two major hurricanes in the past 10 years—Georges and Katrina—that directly impacted the site of my studies. The storms stripped the island of vegetation, and we developed a proposal to help re-establish the habitat.”

 Dindo has developed an interest in creatures that live in the deepest parts of the ocean. He was part of a crew that used the Johnson Sea Link, a four-person submersible, to dive in 2,100 feet of water about 250 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

On his deep-sea work:
“We spent three days diving in that depth, studying animals that live around areas of methane gas. These are worms, clams, crabs and other animals that exist on sulfur and methane products. Our work was similar to Dr. Robert Ballard’s findings around the smoker vents near the Galapagos Islands, although we worked around cold methane vents while Ballard discovered heated vents. Our dives went to water that was 4 degrees centigrade, with no light, so it is a very harsh environment.

On the rewards of marine science: 
“As we speak, I am looking over the Gulf of Mexico at a lighthouse that was built in 1877, and I know that each day here presents something different. I get to go into the field and I get to teach, from kindergarten students to a group of retired paper-mill employees who are coming here next week. The diversity of my work is what makes it so interesting, and that’s what makes me want to keep doing the job.

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