Behind the Scenes
May 29, 2014 – The ocean’s surface waters and the deep sea provide contrasting living conditions for marine animals. The deep sea is cold with high pressure and limited food and oxygen. The surface is warm with low pressure and more food and oxygen. The ctenophore Bolinopsis infundibulum has evolved to survive in both habitats.
May 20, 2014 – Ctenophores, or comb jellies, are typically found in the water column, far above the seafloor. Yet a few species manage to live on the bottom of the ocean. MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock and his colleagues are currently at sea on MBARI’s research vessel Western Flyer, studying ctenophores and other deep-sea animals with ROV Doc Ricketts.
May 12, 2014 – Amy Zimmerman, a postdoctoral fellow at MBARI, recently conducted field experiments to study the interactions between viruses and nutrients in the ocean. She traveled to the Sargasso Sea (in the North Atlantic Ocean) to investigate how these interactions impact picophytoplankton, the smallest community of phytoplankton.
Apr 28, 2014 – Last week, MBARI’s Midwater Ecology Group, led by Bruce Robison, embarked on an eight-day expedition aboard the R/V Western Flyer to conduct research in Monterey Bay. The lab will use a midwater toolsled, equipped with sampling chambers and an underwater “vacuum cleaner,” to collect animals in the deep sea.
Apr 25, 2014 – The Benthic Rover slowly creeps along the seafloor, settles at a random study site for two to three days, and then moves along to the next site approximately ten meters away. The Rover was built to measure oxygen consumption of benthic, or seafloor, organisms as a way to understand the supply and demand of carbon in the ocean’s deepest waters.
Apr 17, 2014 – A group of researchers led by MBARI geologist Charlie Paull are conducting an expedition this week on R/V Western Flyer. Among other research techniques, they are using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Doc Ricketts to collect samples of sediment that will help them identify the location of the San Gregorio Fault Zone where it crosses the northern flank of the Monterey Canyon.
Mar 31, 2014 – As their name implies, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) navigate through the ocean on their own. In situ sensors on the AUVs measure physical characteristics (such as temperature and salinity) that are useful for scientists. But how and when do MBARI scientists access these data from AUVs?
Feb 24, 2014 – Bill Ussler, a senior research specialist at MBARI, is investigating techniques for cultivating bacteria in the deep sea. Attempts to cultivate deep-sea bacteria in the laboratory have generally failed because most the bacteria do not survive the transit to the surface and it is difficult to create incubation systems that mimic the deep sea. Bill designed an in situ microbial incubation system to circumvent these problems.
Feb 14, 2014 – Comb jellies were included in Science News’ list of top genomes of 2013. Last year, MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock was an author on a paper that highlighted these fascinating and wondrous creatures. In this study, researchers compared the genomes of organisms, including that of Mnemiopsis leidyi, a comb jelly native to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.