Exploration and Discovery
Exploration inevitably leads to discovery. MBARI is uniquely positioned to explore the deep-sea realm and its connections with the ocean surface. Easy access to Monterey Bay’s deep submarine canyon provides a natural laboratory for scientific research and engineering innovation. Developing and expanding our access to this undersea laboratory has been a primary theme since MBARI’s founding. Platforms and sensors for observing the deep ocean and for conducting interactively controlled in situ experiments are hallmarks of MBARI’s achievements. The continued use, development, and creative integration of these assets permit MBARI research teams to transcend many of the limitations faced by other scientists and engineers who endeavor to study marine environments.
Exploring coral gardens off the Big Sur coast
The underwater gardens of Sur Ridge were first discovered in December 2013, when MBARI researchers and their colleagues from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary were on an expedition to study deep-sea animals on the floor of Monterey Bay. When the team did a remotely operated vehicle dive on Sur Ridge, they were surprised and delighted to discover large numbers of deep-sea corals and sponges. Intrigued, they returned to the area in 2014 and 2016 to explore more of the seamount, and found even more impressive coral gardens.