The MBARI logo is based on a deep sea fish known as the gulper eel (Saccopharynx lavenbergi). Gulper eels are found in Monterey Bay at depths of about 2,000 meters (6,500 feet). The gulper eel grows to almost two meters (six feet) long and can eat other fish almost as large as itself.
Gulper eels feed by expanding and engulfing prey in their pouchlike mouths. (A gulper eel's mouth is like a pelican's; it can expand to hold large prey.) A gulper eel's distensible stomach allows it to swallow prey two thirds its own size. The gulper eel has teeth, but another species, the umbrellamouth gulper eel, lacks teeth.
The "V" shape below the eel in the logo represents Monterey Canyon, which is one of the largest underwater canyons along the continental United States. The submarine canyon cuts across some 100 kilometers of seafloor, plunging to a depth of 3,000 meters where a channel leads to the deeper abyssal plain.