Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
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News from MBARI — 2006
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View MBARI research stories and researcher web pages grouped by topic.
 
Feature story — 1 December 2006:
The undescribed species in our back yard

When MBARI marine biologist Steve Haddock returned from his last research cruise, he was exhausted but exhilarated. He and a team of marine biologists had been working 18-hour days, taking advantage of precious ship time on MBARI's research vessel Western Flyer. But the team's effort had paid off—they had collected at least 22 different species of previously unclassified animals.
^How do you classify an animal that has no color and no fixed shape and turns into a little puddle of slime when you try to preserve it for study on shore?

News Brief — 10 Nov 2006:
MBARI creates new observatory 3,500 meters below the ocean surface

On November 6, 2006, MBARI engineers put the finishing touches on an amazing array of instruments that can collect data 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) below the ocean surface and send that data to scientists on shore in real time.
^Scientists can now view live data from these instruments 3,500 meters below the ocean surface.

News Brief — 3 Nov 2006:
Using computers to look for fish

Some time in the next year, the MARS observatory will allow researchers to watch 24-hour-a-day live video of the deep seafloor off Monterey Bay. Over the last few weeks, MBARI engineer Duane Edgington and his team members have been testing a computer system that will analyze undersea video to determine when something interesting is happening.
^A computer automatically highlighted a rockfish and a sea star in this underwater video clip.

News Brief — 20 Oct 2006:
Underwater mapping by robot submarine

Eight MBARI researchers recently spent six marathon days at sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to map the summit of Davidson Seamount.
^Launching the mapping AUV from MBARI's research vessel Western Flyer off the coast of Oregon.

News Brief — 10 Oct 2006:
MBARI researcher describes the impact of a newfound species... of manganese

On Sept 29, 2006, Science magazine published a commentary by MBARI chemical oceanographer Ken Johnson that shows how a particular "chemical species" of manganese can help keep marine life alive in surface waters, even when the water below has become an anoxic "zone of death."
^Flow-injection analysis systems, such as this one operated by Ginger Elrod, are used to measure concentrations of manganese dissolved in seawater.

News Brief — 19 Sept 2006:
MBARI adjunct Edith Widder wins MacArthur Award

On September 19, 2006 MBARI adjunct Edith Widder was awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant in recognition of her creative and pioneering studies of bioluminescent (glowing) marine organisms.
^Marine biologist and MBARI adjunct Edith Widder

News Release — 7 September 2006:
Exploring the submerged wreck of the USS Macon

On September 17, 2006 researchers from NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary program and MBARI will embark on a expedition to study the submerged wreck of the airship USS Macon, the largest and last U.S.-built, rigid lighter-than-air craft.
^The USS Macon is shown flying over the city of San Francisco in this historical photograph from the 1930s.

News Release — 23 August 2006:
Schools of undersea robots give oceanographers new eyes and ears in the sea

Like schools of robot fish, dozens of undersea gliders and other robotic undersea vehicles have been cruising the near-shore waters of the Central California coast during the past month. These undersea robots, along with other instruments carried on ships, airplanes, satellites, buoys, and drifters, are providing oceanographers with new ways of seeing and hearing the ocean in unprecedented detail.
^The XRay glider, a newly designed, high-performance undersea robotic vehicle, is prepared for a trial run as part of the Monterey Bay 2006 experiment.

Feature story — 19 July 2006:
MBARI creates revolutionary deep-sea observatory

Last week, after almost five years of development, MBARI engineers and scientists celebrated the deployment of a new oceanographic mooring that connects instruments on the deep seafloor with solar panels and a data relay system at the sea surface. The resulting deep-sea observatory is one of only a few such installations world-wide.
^The new Shepard Meander observatory transmits live data from 3.2 kilometers below the ocean surface.

News Release — 10 July 2006:
Midgets and giants in the deep sea

Biologists have long observed that when animals colonize and evolve on isolated islands, small animals tend to become larger while large animals tend to become smaller. Recent research lead by MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Craig McClain suggests that a similar trend affects animals as they adapt to life in the deep sea.
^Shells from three deep-water snails (on the left) are dwarfed by a single large shell from shallow water.

Feature story — 25 May 2006:
Life on the line— Studying the environmental effects of a deep-sea communications cable

A unique paper by researchers at MBARI and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary describes how a deep-sea communications cable affects animals living on and within the seafloor.
^A variety of marine animals live near the Pioneer Seamount cable, offshore of Half Moon Bay.

Feature story — 20 March 2006:
Robotic DNA lab helps scientists study microscopic marine life on Earth and other planets

Last week, a team of MBARI scientists and engineers deployed a new robotic undersea DNA lab in Monterey Bay. In the next year or two, this team, led by molecular biologist Chris Scholin, will be using a similar robotic lab to study microorganisms at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. They will also be working with NASA to develop instruments that could search for life on other planets.
^The new Environmental Sample Processor was launched earlier this month from the R/V Zephyr.

Feature story — 14 March 2006:
Discovery of the "Yeti Crab"

An international team of scientists recently announced the discovery of a new species of blind deep-sea crab whose legs are covered with long, pale yellow hairs. Because of its hairy legs, this animal was nicknamed the "Yeti crab," after the fabled Yeti, the abominable snowman of the Himalayas.
^This beautiful photograph of the Yeti crab shows the long hair-like setae that make the animal unique.

News Release — 28 February 2006:
NOAA and MBARI announce winners in competition to design an environmentally-friendly anchor

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and MBARI announced today the winners of their design competition for an “environmentally-friendly” anchor. Two different designs were selected—a sand-filled bucket system, which was judged the best “disposable” anchor, and a reeled anchor system, which won an award for the best “reusable anchor” design.
^MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Ventana places a small anchor for scientific equipment on the bottom of Monterey Bay.

Feature story — 22 February 2006:
First observations of an egg-brooding squid

Marine biologists have long assumed that all squids lay their eggs in clusters on the sea floor, where the eggs develop and hatch without any help from their parents. However, a recent study shows that females of at least one species of squid carry their eggs between their arms until the young hatch and swim away.
^A female Gonatus onyx squid carries thousands of eggs as she drifts in the deep waters of Monterey Canyon.

Feature story — 10 February 2006:
DNA from the deep

What kinds of microbes live beneath the surface of the open ocean? What are they doing down there? These are the sorts of questions that MBARI researcher Chris Preston has been trying to answer in her research. But instead of using a microscope, Preston analyzes DNA from marine microbes to determine what types are present and what biochemical tricks they use to survive.
^Although a few types of marine microbes been studied in detail, DNA studies will help scientists learn about the many species that have yet to be identified.

News Release — 26 January 2006:
Ocean expedition to explore ancient coral gardens

A team of scientists from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, along with filmmakers from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), set sail today on MBARI’s research ship Western Flyer to explore Davidson Seamount.
^Near the crest of Davidson Seamount are spectacular forests of deep-sea coral. Some of these colonies are over 2.5 meters (eight feet) tall.

News Release — 5 January 2006:
Tiny marine organisms reflect ocean warming

Sediment cores collected from the seafloor off Southern California reveal that plankton populations in the Northeastern Pacific changed significantly in response to a general warming trend that started in the early 1900s. These changes are unlike anything seen during the previous 1,400 years.
^Foraminifera are small, amoeba-like organisms that live inside shells ("tests") such as these.

Last updated: Apr. 22, 2009