MARS Science Experiments

The benthic rover during a test dive in January 2007.

Benthic Rover

The Benthic Rover autonomously transits the seafloor taking measurements of sediment community oxygen consumption, which the lab uses to calculate organic carbon demand.

CTD Sensors

CTD Sensors - Temperature, conductivity and pressure data from SENSORS CTD deployed on MARS.

Deep-Sea Environmental Sample Processor

Deep-Sea Environmental Sample Processor - MBARI's robotic biology lab already filters microbes from surface water and identifies them on its own. To study deep-sea life, this new ESP must be able to do its careful lab work in 90 times the pressure we feel on land.
This photo shows the robotic arm on MBARI's remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Ventana lowering the DEIMOS instrument onto the seafloor. The blue cylinder works like a fish finder, sending sound waves up from the seafloor to detect fish and other animals swimming above. Image: (c) 2009 MBARI


The DEIMOS system works like the “fish finder” used on many recreational fishing boats, but instead of pointing down from the sea surface, it points up from the seafloor. DEIMOS was developed by professor John Horne, along with research scientists David Barbee and Dick Kreisberg, at the University of Washington.
eye in the sea

Eye in the Sea

Eye in the Sea – This low-light camera sits quietly and looks for shy creatures by the eerie glow of their bioluminescence – a feature shared by 90 percent of deep-sea life. So far, we’ve studied the deep using loud subs with bright lights. Eye in the Sea uses a stealthier approach.
This photo shows the flume for the FOCE experiment underwater in the MBARI test tank, along with the remotely operated vehicle Ventana. Seawater enriched with carbon dioxide will be sent down this flume, mixing as it goes. In the center of the flume is an open area where animals on the seafloor would be exposed to the slightly acidified seawater. Image: Todd Walsh, ©2008 MBARI.

Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment system (FOCE)

The FOCE experiment is designed to study the effects of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater on marine animals. This experiment is of vital importance, since seawater is becoming more acidic as more and more human-generated carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the world’s oceans.

At Sea

Research Vessel Western Flyer
2016 departure/arrival times
Research Vessel Rachel Carson
Research Vessel Paragon
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Remotely operated vehicles
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Benthic Rover
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Wave Glider
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Cabled observatory
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