Climate-driven changes in upwelling, ocean mixing, oxygen minimum zones, and nutrient cycling are likely to affect the year-to-year variation in ocean ecosystem processes. These changes will potentially impact marine life and the fundamental underpinnings of fisheries from shallow to deep-sea habitats. MBARI’s technical achievements and knowledge are transforming climate change research with novel methods and technologies.
Robot breaks record and reveals new climate data
MBARI’s Benthic Rover recently broke the world record for operating autonomously for one year and two days, and traveling a distance of 1.6 kilometers (about one mile) on the flat, muddy, abyssal seafloor at 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) depth. The Rover’s instruments detected several brief, two- to four-week events when nearly an entire year’s worth of chlorophyll-rich detritus landed on the seafloor. These events would have gone undetected without the long-term presence of the Benthic Rover, and showed that a much larger percentage of carbon than previously expected can sink rapidly from the surface into deeper water. These periodic events can now be factored into global climate change models.