Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
Deep Sea Environmental Sample Processor (D-ESP)

Integrating the ESP in a cabled observatory

MARS cabled observatory Under the auspices of a grant from the Keck Foundation, MBARI is building a prototype pressure housing and sample collection module suitable for deploying the ESP at depths to 4000 meters. This version of the instrument is known as the Deep-sea Environmental Sample Processoror D-ESP. The D-ESP effort was initiated by Ed DeLong at MBARI several years ago as part of a larger exploratory program to establish a cabled observatory on the Juan de Fuca plate off the Pacific Northwest coast of the U.S. That program, NEPTUNE,is currently in progress.

Development of the D-ESP at MBARI is being coordinated with development of the 2G ESP and with testing and deployment for the benefit of several science teams. The D-ESP is also being tested and refined for microbiological investigations. The goal is to deploy it in areas of intense geological and microbiological interest (such as the Juan de Fuca ridge) and to link—in time series fashion—the relationships between tectonic activity, fluid flow, and microbial flux from below the seafloor to overlaying waters.

D-ESP operations

  • 2006: The DWSM (deep water sampling module) mounted on ROV Ventana for an engineering test (sampling module only).
  • 2006-2007: Integrate the core ESP with the DWSM (deep water sampling module), for engineering tests on the fully integrated system. For this test, the prototype D-ESP will be mounted on an cable-laying tool sled for testing at various depths and locations. After that the D-ESP will be integrated in benthic moorings, including the MBARI MARS and MOOS platforms.
  • 2007: Demonstrate science applications
    • Depth profile--look for bugs that are always present
    • Look for invertebrate larvae
  • Early 2008: Deploy on the MARS cabled observatory test bed
  • Build up the 3000-meter rated device (NASA ASTEP)
Last updated: Feb. 04, 2009