Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

The MARS Ocean Observatory Testbed

MARS science experiments

The undersea cable and science node have been installed, and numerous science experiments have been connected to the MARS observatory. The list below includes examples of experiments that have been 1) hooked up to the MARS observatory over the last few years, 2) are currently installed, or 3) are still under development.

Eye in the Sea Eye in the Sea - This low-light camera sits quietly and looks for shy creatures by the eerie glow of their bioluminescence - a feature shared by 90 percent of deep-sea life. So far, we've studied the deep using loud subs with bright lights. Eye in the Sea uses a stealthier approach.
foce experiment The FOCE experiment is designed to study the effects of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater on marine animals. This experiment is of vital importance, since seawater is becoming more acidic as more and more human-generated carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the world's oceans.
Benthic Rover Benthic Rover - This small, unmanned vehicle will creep across the seafloor studying sediment and the animals that live within it. The data will give us clues to an old scientific puzzle: How does seafloor life survive with no plants around and a limited food supply?
Seafloor Seismometer Seafloor Seismometer - This sensor is already in place, running on batteries that must be replaced every four months. By connecting it to MARS, scientists will get reports on tremors in real time instead of only every few months.
DEIMOS - upward-looking sonar The DEIMOS echo sounderThe DEIMOS system works like the "fish finder" used on many recreational fishing boats, but instead of pointing down from the sea surface, it points up from the seafloor. DEIMOS was developed by professor John Horne, along with research scientists David Barbee and Dick Kreisberg, at the University of Washington.
Deep-Sea Environmental Sample Processor Deep-Sea Environmental Sample Processor - MBARI's robotic biology lab already filters microbes from surface water and identifies them on its own. To study deep-sea life, this new ESP must be able to do its careful lab work in 90 times the pressure we feel on land.
ALOHA mooring ALOHA Mooring - Monterey Bay's famous upwelling currents stir up nutrients and feed everything from anchovies to whales. The ALOHA mooring will help understand those currents by constantly measuring water conditions from surface waters to ocean floor.

 

Last updated: Apr. 28, 2011