Behind the scenes - 2013
Profile: Web and Print Project Manager Nancy Barr
Nancy Barr manages MBARI's web and print projects, often working with MBARI President and CEO Chris Scholin, as shown in this photo. Nancy spent much of the last five months writing, editing, and selecting images for MBARI's 2012 Annual Report, copies of which just arrived from the printer this week. In addition to serving as web master for MBARI's web site, Nancy edits all of MBARI's print documents. She is currently working on a draft of our Technology Roadmap, a document that outlines scientific needs and technological opportunities that will drive MBARI's future engineering activities.
—May 24, 2013
Profile: Logistics Support Specialist Teresa Cardoza
Teresa Cardoza describes her job as being "the liaison between marine operations and research and engineering.” Teresa keeps track of every detail to make sure the ships, vehicles, and crew are ready so that each mission will be successful. She arranges for facilities and local services at ports from Canada to Mexico. She visits ports in advance of expeditions to meet with local representatives and to ensure the sites will be suitable for MBARI’s needs. She also considers staff needs at port and lines up transportation and lodging. Teresa determines if tools, equipment, and samples need to be trucked between MBARI and distant ports, and makes those arrangements. She provides a detailed schedule of operations for cruise participants, and notifies government agencies of MBARI’s plans as necessary. “I consider MBARI’s scientists to be my customers, and I strive to provide good customer service to ensure cruises will go smoothly. I find my job rewarding and enjoy the relationships I have established with everyone within MBARI, and with people and institutions up and down the Pacific coastline." In the photo at left, Teresa and Deputy Director of Marine Operations Chris Grech review marine charts for an upcoming expedition.
—May 15, 2013
Stretching the long-range autonomous underwater vehicle
Engineers Brian Kieft, left, and Brett Hobson loaded two long-range autonomous underwater vehicles onto a small boat for testing this week. The newest vehicle is longer to accommodate additional science instruments. This week's tests were aimed at seeing if the controls could properly fly the longer vehicle. Further analysis will continue, but the initial results were positive.
—May 10, 2013
The research vessel Point Sur returns from Antarctica
On May 2nd the research vessel Point Sur returned to her home port of Moss Landing after a five-month, 19,900-mile trip to Antarctica and back. Operated by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the Point Sur shares MBARI's dock with MBARI's research vessels, the Western Flyer and the Rachel Carson. A crowd gathered on the dock to welcome the ship and her crew with cheers and flags. For more information on the research conducted during this cruise, see the Point Sur's expedition blog.
—May 2, 2013
Alaskan Tribal Marine Science Workshop
MBARI's Senior Education and Research Specialist George Matsumoto participated in this week's Tribal Marine Science Workshop at NOAA/University of Alaska's Kasitsna Bay Laboratory in Alaska. The intensive workshop is designed for natural resource specialists in Alaska Tribes and Native organizations who have an interest in marine sciences. Here Paul Melovidov (left) of Saint Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands joins Matsumoto (right) preparing for a plankton tow in Kachemak Bay.
—April 24, 2013
Testing the Deep ESP
The Deep Environmental Sample Processor (D-ESP) is being tested in MBARI's test tank this week in preparation of a six-month deployment on the Monterey Advanced Research System (MARS) cabled observatory. With funding from NASA's ASTEP program (Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring the Planets), the D-ESP will autonomously detect, sample, and process microorganisms on the seafloor and surrounding waters 891 meters (2,923 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay.
—April 17, 2013
The blue shipping container may not look like much, but it contains MBARI’s D. Allan B. autonomous underwater vehicle. This one-of-a-kind robot is specially equipped to create detailed maps of the deep seafloor. Erich Rienecker, in the distance, Teresa Cardoza, up front, Eric Fitzgerald, in the crane, and Eric Martin (not pictured), carefully guided the container onto a waiting flatbed truck to begin its journey to Taiwan, where scientist Charlie Paull and his team plan to map part of the South China Sea this month.
—April 11, 2013
A wet day at sea
MBARI Administrative Assistant Mariah Salisbury gained a new appreciation for the rigors of ocean research during her last cruise aboard the R/V Rachel Carson with MBARI's Biological Oceanography Group. But she didn't let the cold and wet deter her from preparing the water-sampling bottles on the CTD-rosette. At the bottom of the rosette is the CTD—an instrument for measuring ocean salinity and temperature at various depths. The CTD rosette is lowered on a cable down into the ocean and collects discrete water samples as each bottle is closed at a particular depth. The samples are used to determine the physical and biological properties of the seawater.
—April 2, 2013
Over the weekend, MBARI researchers conducted Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) experiments on the San Pedro Shelf off Southern California. NOAA is funding a collaborative research project to develop a better understanding of the environmental conditions leading to bloom and toxin initiation for Pseudo-nitzschia, a diatom that can form harmful algal blooms, or HABs. The experiment will compare two “hot spots,” Monterey Bay and San Pedro, California. Each will include an observational component (ESP, AUVs, gliders, boats) supported by a modeling component. Participants include MBARI, NOAA, University of California, Santa Cruz, and others. At left, Postdoctoral Fellow Holly Bowers processes samples in the wet lab of the R/V Rachel Carson.
—March 19, 2013
Southern California operations
When the research vessel Rachel Carson set sail for Southern California last week, it was equipped with two autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to perform very different kinds of missions. One AUV is mapping the seafloor to identify areas with interesting chemical features, such as gas venting from the seafloor. The other AUV will work closer to the surface, following harmful algal blooms and collecting water samples and information to allow comparisons of ocean systems in Southern California with those in Monterey Bay. At left, Captain Aaron Gregg and First Mate Paul Ban review the nautical charts before setting sail.
—March 12, 2013
Science meets art
Last weekend, MBARI researchers Judith Connor and Jim Barry talked about changes in ocean chemistry during performances of Ocean—a science-inspired dance program—at San Jose State University. This multimedia production, conceived by choreographer Fran Spector Atkins and performed by her SpectorDance company, is the result of a unique collaboration between SpectorDance and MBARI. Kyra Schlining, a biologist at MBARI, worked with Spector Atkins to provide MBARI images and scientific information. Schlining's husband, Brian, an MBARI engineer, helped with lighting and projection for the weekend performances. Portraying changes in the ocean, the professional dancers gave spectacular performances accompanied by original music, MBARI deep-sea images, and interviews with scientists. After the show, Connor said, "This experience reminded me how fortunate I am to live in this creative community and to work with smart, environmentally conscious people like the Schlinings."
—March 6, 2013
Launching an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in the surf
Ryan Smith, a researcher visiting MBARI from the Queensland University of Technology, launches his "Ecomapper" AUV from the beach in front of MBARI. The AUV carried instruments to measure water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and algae. Smith spent four months at MBARI working with Kanna Rajan's Autonomous Systems Group to add intelligent scheduling and decision-making software to this commercial AUV.
—February 26, 2013
Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) operations
AUV specialists Eric Martin (left) and Doug Conlin (right) help maintain and operate our AUV fleet. Here, they are standing on the deck of the R/V Rachel Carson as it steams out to sea to deploy the upper-water-column vehicle. The upper-water-column vehicle with "gulper samplers", developed at MBARI, is designed to rapidly acquire multiple large-volume water samples aboard the AUV. This AUV is unique in that it can collect up to ten 1.8-liter water samples while traveling through the water or through a plume. For more information about this AUV, go to our AUV pages.
—January 22, 2013
MARS cabled observatory
This image shows ROV Ventana's manipulator arm unplugging a deep-sea instrument's cable from the science node on the Monterey Advanced Research System (MARS) cabled observatory. MARS was the first cabled oceanographic observatory on the US West Coast. More than eight different science experiments can be attached to this main hub with eight nodes which sits on the seafloor 891 meters (2,923 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay. More information on MARS.
—January 15, 2013