Maya Tolstoy will also be giving a talk at the Vancouver Institute on Saturday, February 23. For more information, see the Vancouver Institute website.
Far beneath the ocean surface, chains of volcanoes churn out new seafloor, slowly ripping apart the oceanic crust and filling it in with fresh lava. These mysterious areas of deep seafloor are dark and dangerous, yet strange ecosystems thrive atop the volcanoes, and hot mineral-laden waters spew from hydrothermal vents. New research suggests that these volcanoes are surprisingly sensitive to both changes in sea level from ocean tides and to longer-term climate related changes, and it is possible that these eruptions may in turn feed back into the Earth’s climate system. Maya Tolstoy is a marine geophysicist specializing in seafloor earthquakes and volcanoes, who has led over US$20 million worth of federally funded research and was part of the leadership team that implemented the largest community marine seismology experiment to date: The Cascadia Initiative. During her visit to UBC as Dal Grauer Memorial Lecturer she will also give a public talk at the Vancouver Institute at 8:15 pm on Saturday, February 23, on The Secret Lives of Deep-Sea Volcanoes.
In addition to her research and teaching, Professor Tolstoy has led a number of key faculty governance groups. She co-chaired the Columbia Senate’s Commission on the Status of Women for 5 years, and led its 2014 Pipeline report. In 2016 she was elected to the Policy and Planning Committee (PPC), the faculty governance committee of Arts and Sciences at Columbia. In 2017/18 she chaired PPC leading a number of important initiatives, including developing a faculty voting process, leading a major equity study of faculty, and initiating studies on lecturers in discipline, best practices for by-laws, and childcare and schooling.
She is the recipient of the Wings Worldquest Sea Award honoring women in exploration and was a finalist for NASA’s Astronaut selection. She serves on the National Academy standing Committee on Seismology and Geodynamics and was honored by the American Geophysical Union as the Birch Lecturer in 2016.
Dr. Tolstoy has also done extensive outreach work to communicate the excitement and importance of earth science to non-science audiences and worked with film-maker James Cameron on the IMAX documentary Aliens of the Deep. Her research has been covered by the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and numerous other media outlets. She holds a BSc Honors in Geophysics from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in Earth Science from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at the University of California San Diego. She lives in New York City with her 15 year old son.