Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
CANON Initiative
The CANON team

Principal Investigator: Chris Scholin

Phytoplankton Ecology

Chris Scholin took over as MBARI president and chief executive officer in 2009, but continues to work on his long-term science program, which focuses on the development and application of molecular probes for detection of a variety of waterborne microbes, in particular toxic and harmful algae. Working collaboratively with a team of engineers, his group pioneered development of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), an instrument that collects water samples autonomously, concentrates microorganisms and automates application of molecular probes to detect particular species and substances they produce.

Chris Scholin, President and Chief Executive Officer of MBARI

Project Manager: Francisco Chavez

Biological Oceanography Group

Francisco Chavez has been managing an ocean observing program at MBARI for more than two decades, gathering a time-series of ocean parameters that have provided insight to how the ocean responds to large scale climate variability. His work focuses on interpreting observations made locally in terms of processes that are happening globally, and he has performed comparative studies in other ocean basins .

Francisco Chavez, senior scientist at MBARI

Lead Engineer: James Bellingham

Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network

MBARI Chief Technologist Jim Bellingham's research activity revolves around the development and use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). In the process of developing these vehicles, he spent considerable time at sea, leading over 20 AUV expeditions. He also leads the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN) program at MBARI, which uses fleets of autonomous vehicles to adapt to and observe rapidly changing oceanographic processes. 

 James Bellingham, Chief Technologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Last updated: Jul. 18, 2012

Participating Scientists

Sergey Frolov

Coastal Ocean Processes

Sergey Frolov is a postdoctoral fellow whose work focuses on observing algal bloom dynamics in Monterey Bay. His research interests include predicting response of the coastal ocean to external forcings, data assimilation, optimal sampling, and machine learning.

Sergey Frolov, participating scientist working on data assimilation

Kanna Rajan

Autonomy

Kanna Rajan is an expert in autonomy and artificial intelligence. He is working on a hybrid integrated planning and execution system for goal-oriented platform control for single and multi-vehicle control. This system synthesizes control actions onboard while being both reactive and deliberative on one of MBARI's AUVs. His group's Decision Support System will aid CANON decision making by processing data that augments human cognitive capabilities for problem solving.

Kanna Rajan, Principal Resarcher for Autonomy at MBARI

John Ryan

Coastal Ocean Processes

The focus of John Ryan's research is on the interactions between physics and biology in the ocean, particularly how these complex interactions control the nature and consequences of phytoplankton blooms. This research integrates observations from satellites, aircraft, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), towed vehicles, moorings and ships, with a growing contribution from numerical model simulations. Ryan also works closely with MBARI engineers to augment the capabilities of AUVs with artificial intelligence, so that these smart robots can recognize and respond to features of interest.

John Ryan, Senior Research Specialist

Ken Smith

Pelagic-Benthic Coupling

The focus of Ken Smith's research is on the impact of climate change on the deep-ocean carbon cycle and the ecology of Antarctic ecosystems. His Lagrangian sediment traps, which capture sinking organic matter as it descends towards the seafloor, will be an important tool in CANON fieldwork.

Ken Smith

Robert Vrijenhoek

Molecular Ecology

Bob Vrijenhoek's studies focus on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of genetic diversity in animals and associated microbes. Since coming across a whale carcass on an MBARI expedition, has discovered a number of new species of the worm, Osedax, which feeds on these whale bones, and further studied the biological communities that flourish surrounding the whales.

Robert Vrijenhoek, Senior Scientist at MBARI

Alexandra Worden

Microbial Population Dynamics

Alexandra Worden’s interests are in population regulation of photoautotrophic microbes with an emphasis on carbon cycling in marine systems. Her group employs a range of methods and technologies, from sea-going oceanography to genomics and metagenomics.

 Alexandra Worden, Microbiologist at MBARI

For any questions or comments related to the CANON Initiative, please contact Francisco Chavez.

Last updated: Jul. 18, 2012