Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Seafloor Mapping
February 29 - April 5, 2012

March 10, 2012
On Saturday, March 10, R/V Zephyr departed from La Paz and began mapping operations in the Sea of Cortez utilizing the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) D. Allen B.. The maps being created by the AUV are already facilitating the research being conducted from the R/V Western Flyer. Data gathered with the mapping AUV produces maps with details as small as one meter (3.3 feet) across. Previous maps available for this area provided no better resolution than 50 meters (164 feet). Learn more.

MBARI's mapping AUV, the D. Allan B., on the aft deck of the R/V Zephyr in the Gulf of California.
AUV Specialist Doug Conlin and AUV Group Leader Hans Thomas prepare the AUV for launch.
Sharing is caring; the crew of the Western Flyer handed off a spare strobe to the Zephyr's crew when the two ships met in the Gulf of California.
First Mate Perry Shoemake and Captain Aaron Gregg.
Perry Shoemake, Jim Boedecker, and Paul Ban stand on deck as the Zephyr nears port in San Carlos on the mainland of Mexico near Guaymas.
The AUV team and Zephyr crew. From left: Dave Caress, Perry Shoemake, Jim Boedecker, Hans Thomas, Mexican collaborator Beatriz Eugenia Mejia Mercado (a graduate student from CICESE), Doug Conlin, Paul Ban, and Aaron Gregg.

UPDATE: April 10, 2012
Saturday, April 7, the mapping AUV team and crew of the R/V Zephyr completed the fourth leg of their mission in the Gulf of California. We successfully conducted all four planned surveys on the Alarcon Rise. Read more.

Seafloor Mapping

R/V Zephyr

R/V Zephyr operates as the primary support ship for MBARI's autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) program.
More information about R/V Zephyr...

AUV D. Allan B.

The MBARI Mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four mapping sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission. The multibeam sonar produces high-resolution bathymetry (analogous to topography on land), the sidescan sonars produce imagery based on the intensity of the sound energy's reflections, and the subbottom profiler penetrates sediments on the seafloor, allowing the detection of layers within the sediments, faults, and depth to the basement rock.


R/V Zephyr

Aaron Gregg


Jim Boedecker
Chief Engineer


Perry Shoemake
First Mate


Paul Ban
First Mate


 Research Team

Dave Caress
Chief Scientist/
Software Engineer

Hans Thomas
AUV Group Leader

Doug Conlin
AUV Specialist

Duane Thompson
AUV Specialist

Last updated: Apr. 11, 2012