Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
News from MBARI — 2004
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View MBARI research stories and researcher web pages grouped by topic.
 
News Release — 13 December 2004:
Ancient islands off Southern California

SAN FRANCISCO—The first-ever video images from submersible dives on southern California seamounts revealed wave-cut rock surfaces, eroded beach sand, and rounded pebbles—clues that these undersea volcanoes were once islands. Geologists from MBARI present compelling evidence for this conclusion this week at the American Geophysical Union 2004 Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
^This photograph was taken by MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Tiburon about 680 meters below the surface at Rodriguez Seamount. The layered rocks are hypothesized to be ancient beach sands from a time when this seamount was a volcanic island off the coast of Southern California.

 
Feature story — 3 December 2004:
Calamari on camera—sizing market squid by video

Market squid (Loligo opalescens) are currently the largest commercial fishery in California, yet scientists know little about the early life history of these heavily-fished animals. A new research technique developed by MBARI postdoctoral fellow Louis Zeidberg promises to help fill this information gap.
^A small group of market squid swimming in formation.

 
Feature story — 17 November 2004:
ROV Ventana carries an AUV into Monterey Canyon

In an unusual test arrangement, MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Ventana has been carrying an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during a series of recent dives in Monterey Canyon. These dives are designed to test a new multibeam sonar mounted inside the AUV. Multibeam sonar is used to create very precise depth maps of the seafloor.
^This photograph shows the yellow, torpedo-like AUV attached to the underside of ROV Ventana.

 
Feature story — 9 November 2004:
MBARI instrument used to sample fluids deep in Earth's crust.

An important part of MBARI's mission is to develop new cutting-edge research tools for the oceanographic community. One such tool is the "OsmoSampler," developed by MBARI research specialist Hans Jannasch. In September 2004, Jannasch helped recover several OsmoSamplers that had been collecting fluids from bore holes hundreds of meters beneath the seafloor.
^Cross section of the Costa Rica Subduction Zone (not to scale) showing the location of the IODP boreholes where pore waters were sampled.

 
Feature story — 21 October 2004:
Building a better fish trap

Using cutting-edge materials and engineering, MBARI collaborator Jeff Drazen has built a better fish trap. Of course, human beings have been building fish traps for thousands of years, but Drazen’s is different. It is a high-pressure (hyperbaric) fish trap, designed to bring deep-sea fish back up to the surface alive.
^Mechanical engineering technician Larry Bird and marine biologist Jeff Drazen assemble the high-pressure fish trap.

 
Feature story — 5 October 2004:
Highlights of MBARI Open House 2004

On October 2nd, MBARI opened its doors to the general public for its annual Open House. Dozens of MBARI employees, including ROV pilots, ships' crews, scientists, engineers, and expert machinists, shared their excitement about the work they do here at MBARI.
^Biologist Christian Levesque explains his benthic biology work to visitors.

 
Feature story — 24 September 2004:
From a salt marsh to the deep sea—testing networked sensors

On September 17, 2004, MBARI scientists deployed the second in a series of scientific moorings, not in the deep sea, but in the shallow, often muddy waters of the Salinas River. This mooring is part of the "Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory" (LOBO), a multi-year effort that uses a network of sensors to measure the transport of nutrients within Elkhorn Slough continuously and in nearly "real time."
^MBARI's Joe Needoba and Steve Fitzwater deploy the new LOBO mooring in a tidal section of the old Salinas River channel.

 
Feature story — 3 September 2004:
DNA analysis shows how some deep-sea microbes limit global warming

Using a new type of DNA analysis, researchers at MBARI and the Joint Genome Institute have shown how some microbes in deep-sea sediments could consume methane, an important contributor to global warming.
^MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Tiburon collects a push core of deep-sea mud from the Eel River Basin, offshore of Northern California. The inset shows methane-consuming microbes from the sediment core.

 
News Release — 29 July 2004:
Whale carcass yields bone-devouring worms

Scientists studying a whale carcass in Monterey Canyon recently announced the discovery of two new species of unique worms that feed on the bones of dead whales.
^Laboratory photo by Greg Rouse showing one of the newly discovered bone-eating worms, Osedax frankpressi, which has been removed from a whale bone.

 
Feature story — 12 July 2004:
The Shepard Meander expedition—a search for missing carbon

Within a large bend in Monterey Canyon known as the Shepard Meander, MBARI scientists recently installed a cluster of instruments that they hope will shed light on an oceanographic mystery—a case of missing carbon.
^ In this computer-generated image of the Shepard Meander, the red dot labeled "Canyon Axis" shows the location of instruments deployed by MBARI scientists to determine how much carbon is moving down the canyon and into the deep sea.

 
Feature story — 11 June 2004:
New mooring helps marine biologists monitor ocean "weather"

On June 3, 2004, MBARI operations staff deployed a new oceanographic mooring in Monterey Bay that is designed specifically to monitor the physical, chemical, and biological effects of upwelling.
^ This view of Monterey Bay shows the new CIMT mooring and MBARI's existing M1 mooring. The colors of the sea surface show cold upwelling water (blue) moving across the bay.

 
Feature story — 3 June 2004:
Student wins international science fair using MBARI rock samples

Using rock samples from MBARI expeditions to the Juan de Fuca Ridge, a high school student from Fort Myers, Florida won one of three Grand Awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair last month.
^Sarah Langberg with her science fair display.

 
Feature story — 30 April 2004:
The MOOS test mooring returns to Monterey Bay

David Packard, MBARI's founder, often exhorted his researchers, "Go deep. Stay long. Take risks..." The MOOS test mooring embodies all three of these goals, as well as the remarkable persistence of MBARI engineers.
^MBARI marine operations staff work on the newly relaunched MOOS test mooring.

 
News Release — 15 April 2004:
Moss Landing researchers reveal iron as key to climate change

A remarkable expedition to the waters of Antarctica suggests that iron supply to the Southern Ocean may have controlled Earth’s climate during past ice ages.
^Collecting water samples was a challenge even in good weather during the SOFeX Expedition in the stormy Southern Ocean.

 
Feature story — 30 March 2004:
The laser raman spectrometer—
shedding new light on ocean geochemistry

In late March, MBARI engineers and scientists used a specially adapted laser to measure the chemical properties of sediment, rocks, and carbon dioxide in the deep waters of Monterey Bay.
^ A thin stream of carbon dioxide hydrate slurry is illuminated by green laser light on the floor of Monterey Bay. The laser raman spectrometer (at right) analyzes the scattered light to determine the physical and chemical properties of the hydrate.

 
Feature story — 10 March 2004:
Ocean research for the 21st Century

From fisheries management to methane hydrates and ocean observatories, when members of Congress and federal agencies want advice on ocean-science issues, they come to the Ocean Studies Board. This week the board will be coming to MBARI for its annual west-coast meeting.
^ In the next few years, benthic instrument nodes such as this one will begin gathering data for ocean observatories, as described in a recent Ocean Studies Board report.

 
Feature story — 26 February 2004:
Hawaii's drowned coral reefs — victims of sudden climate change?

Over the next 50 to 100 years, global sea-level rise could become a major environmental and social problem. Although sea levels are rising slowly at present, recent research suggests that periods of very rapid sea-level rise have occurred in the past, probably due to the breakup of terrestrial ice sheets. In the March 2004 issue of Geology, MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Jody Webster presents new evidence for rapid sea-level rise based on studies of drowned Hawaiian coral reefs.
^MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Tiburon collects a rock sample from a drowned coral reef off the northeast coast of Hawaii during MBARI's 2001 Hawaii expedition.

 
News brief — 18 February 2004:
MBARI presentations at ASLO conference.

A score of MBARI researchers are presenting papers and posters this week at the 2004 Ocean Research Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. The MBARI presentations cover a wide variety of oceanographic research topics, from large-scale ecological studies to designs for new oceanographic sensors.

 
Laser Raman spectrometer on sea floor News Release — 12 February 2004
Cutting-edge oceanography helps scientists understand climate change on Earth (and other planets)

This week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, two MBARI scientists have been invited to present talks that link the ocean to global climate change. A third MBARI scientist will explain how new tools provide a big-picture view of ocean processes on Earth and may be useful for studying oceans—and possible life—on other planets.
^MBARI's laser raman spectrometer is one of the new oceanographic tools that MBARI researchers will describe at this week's AAAS meeting in Seattle. It is shown here analyzing a pool of liquid carbon dioxide 3,600 meters below the ocean surface.

 
Stellamedusa ventana News Release — 3 February 2004
New "bumpy" jelly found in deep sea

Wart-like bumps of stinging cells cover the feeding arms and bell of a newly described deep-sea jelly. The description was published by MBARI biologists in this month’s issue of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. This softball-sized, translucent jelly moves through the water like a shooting star, trailing four fleshy oral arms—but no tentacles—behind it. This and other unique features resulted in the jelly's categorization as a new genus and species.

^Stellamedusa ventana photographed during the MBARI 2003 expedition to the Gulf of California.

 
  News brief — 1 February 2004:
MBARI website upgraded with cascading style sheets.

 
News brief — 26 January 2004:
Constant sea change

This week at the American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon, MBARI scientist Francisco Chavez will present a plenary talk about natural climate fluctuations, such as El Niño, which span years to decades. These fluctuations can have profound impacts on the abundance of marine life and the cycling of important chemical elements such as carbon dioxide. Chavez's 2003 publication in the journal Science on long-term climate cycles has become one of the most frequently cited geoscience papers of the last year.
^Long-term oceanographic cycles superimposed over a SeaWIFS satellite image of chlorophyll in the Pacific Ocean. SeaWIFS image provided by the SeaWIFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.

 
Feature story — 12 January 2004:
Return to the whale fall

This week MBARI scientist Robert Vrijenhoek revisited a dead whale carcass nearly 2,900 meters (1.8 miles) deep in Monterey Canyon. This was the fifth MBARI mission to this site since the whale was first discovered in October 2002. Using ROV Tiburon, Vrijenhoek and colleagues continued to study the unique biological community that has grown around the whale carcass and document the changes that have occurred since their previous visits.
^This gray whale carcass is now home for a variety of deep-sea animals. The orange float beside the skull has a homing beacon that allows researchers to find this site again.

 
News brief — 5 January 2004:
Ocean observatories—the wave of the future

This week MBARI researchers join other U.S. oceanographers and marine educators to discuss goals of the Ocean Research Interactive Observatory Networks program (ORION), a major research initiative of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Over the next three years, MBARI will be developing and installing an NSF-funded test observatory in Monterey Bay.

< Instrument clusters such as this will connect to the Monterey Bay test observatory, allowing researchers to access data in real-time.

 
Feature story — 6 January 2004:
Obituary Notice--AUV supervisor Drew Gashler

Drew Gashler, supervisor of autonomous underwater vehicle operations at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, was killed in an avalanche while cross-country skiing near Lake Tahoe on New Year's Day. He was 37 years old.

 
Last updated: Jan. 13, 2010