R/V Western Flyer was designed and constructed for MBARI to serve as the support vessel for ROV Doc Ricketts. Her missions include the Monterey Bay as well as extended cruises to Hawaii, Gulf of California and the Pacific Northwest.
ROV Doc Ricketts is capable of diving to 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles). The Western Flyer is the support vessel for Doc Ricketts and was designed with a center well whose floor can be opened to allow Doc Ricketts to be launched from within the ship into the water below.
The MBARI mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission to map the seafloor autonomously. The sonars are a swath multibeam sonar, two sidescan sonars, and a sub-bottom profiler.
The MiniROV is used to conduct shallow water transects and make in situ observations. The vehicle is electrically powered, so it is much quieter than a normal-sized ROV.
Sediment traps collect the samples needed for the lab's measure of particulate organic carbon. The sample is split into portions for microscopy, pigment analysis and carbon analysis.
Blue water diving is a highly specialized mode of scientific diving that lets researchers observe, experiment, and collect delicate midwater organisms in situ.
Oxygen consumption (a measure of biological activity) of the organisms living in the sediment is measured using a benthic respirometer system (BRS). This instrument is used in situ (in place on the seafloor).
A push core looks like a clear plastic tube with a rubber handle on one end. Just as its name implies, the push core is pushed down into loose sediment using the ROV's manipulator arm.