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

Sur Ridge, a 16-kilometer-long submarine ridge west of Point Sur, California, harbors a lush community of fishes, corals, sponges, and other invertebrates.

Sur Ridge, a 16-kilometer-long submarine ridge west of Point Sur, California, harbors a lush community of fishes, corals, sponges, and other invertebrates.

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.

Related

Sur Ridge photo gallery

Exploration and Discovery Projects

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Seafloor mapping AUV

The MBARI mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four mapping sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission. The sonars are a swath multibeam sonar, two sidescan sonars, and a sub-bottom profiler.
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Mid-ocean ridge volcanic processes

MBARI mapped the 2011 eruption at Axial Volcano with our AUV. Surprises included how most of the fissures had been pre-existing, and were reused (even widened and deepened) and fed lava into pre-existing channels.

Making an impact

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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.
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Climate Change

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.
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Ocean Health

One of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s long-term goals it to restore the health and productivity of the world ocean, on which all live depends. MBARI research results have contributed to raising public awareness about the health and future of the ocean.