Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
News from MBARI — 2010

This page summarizes recent discoveries, achievements, publications, and events at MBARI. Some of these are documented in news releases or full-length feature stories. Others are simply short news briefs that appeared on the MBARI home page.

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News Release — 6 December 2010:
Fleshing out the life histories of dead whales

Dead whales that sink down to the seafloor provide a feast for deep-sea animals that can last for years. Previous research suggested that such "whale falls" were homes for unique animals that lived nowhere else. However, after sinking five whale carcasses in Monterey Canyon, MBARI researchers found that most of the animals at these sites were not unique to whale falls, but were common in other deep-sea environments as well.
^Three photomontages showing the decomposition of a whale carcass in Monterey Canyon over a three-year period.

News Release — 1 November 2010:
New long-range undersea robot goes the distance

Over the past decade, the undersea robots known as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become increasingly important in oceanographic research. MBARI engineers recently demonstrated a new super-efficient AUV that can travel rapidly for hundreds of kilometers, "hover" in the water for weeks at a time, and carry a wide variety of instruments.
^Thomas Hoover and Brett Hobson work on the long-range AUV.

Ghostlike cirrate octopus News Brief — 22 October 2010:
Just in time for Halloween - MBARI videos of spooky deep-sea animals

The deep sea is a pretty spooky place. It's pitch black, freezing cold, and inhabited by a lot of weird animals. Here are five videos showing some of the spooky animals we've seen down where the sun never shines.

Environmental sample processor on undersea methane seep News Brief — 22 October 2010:
MBARI Video: Robotic laboratory studies bacteria at a Southern California methane seep

The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a robotic biochemistry laboratory, proved its versatility once again during the summer of 2010, when it detected bacteria at an undersea methane seep off the coast of Southern California. Watch a short video clip that describes this expedition.

Ken Smith, Alana Sherman, and the Benthic Rover News Brief — 15 October 2010:
MBARI researchers featured in "Ocean Gazing" podcasts

Last summer, podcaster Ari Daniel Shapiro visited MBARI and compiled some insightful interviews with several MBARI researchers. These podcasts feature MBARI science, engineering, and marine operations staff, and were recently featured on a web site created for the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE).

Craig Dawe with ROV Ventana News Release — 14 October 2010:
Multi-institutional experiment finds harmful algal blooms in Monterey Bay

A small fleet of ships and robotic submersibles are performing a kind of water ballet in northern Monterey Bay this month, observing and following the evolution and consequences of algal blooms as part of MBARI’s CANON (Controlled, Agile, and Novel Observing Network) project and the multi-institutional BloomEx field trials.

Craig Dawe with ROV Ventana News Release — 13 October 2010:
The CANON experiments – Tracking algal blooms by “going with the flow”

In mid-September a small fleet of ships and robotic submersibles performed a novel experiment about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the Central California coast. The vessels spent most of their time circling around a floating robotic DNA lab, which drifted southward in the California Current.

Craig Dawe with ROV Ventana News Brief — 14 October 2010:
MBARI video: Coral-devouring sea stars

Video describes three new species of coral-eating sea stars including Sthenaster emmae as a new genus and species from the tropical Atlantic and two new Evoplosoma species, Evoplosoma claguei, and Evoplosoma voratus sp. from seamounts in the North Pacific.

Craig Dawe with ROV Ventana News Brief — 4 October 2010:
The voyage of the microbial eukaryote

Paper by microbiologist Alex Worden and collaborator Andrew Allen featured on cover of Current Opinion in Microbiology.

News Release—19 August 2010:
Sonar images from robotic submersible help officials determine if historic shipwreck poses oil pollution threat

Experts hope to use sonar images of a sunken ship off California’s coast to determine whether the vessel is at risk of leaking oil. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) sent a robotic submersible down to the wreck of the S. S. Montebello last week in an effort to assess the condition of the ship.
^This sonar image shows the bow of the S. S. Montebello, which broke off when the ship sank to the seafloor.

17 August 2010:
Visitors flock to MBARI's 2010 Open House

On August 14, 2010, MBARI staff and volunteers shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with the public during our once-a-year Open House. Click on the link above to see photos of some of the day's events and activities.
^The MBARI docks are always busy during Open House. This year, at least four different robotic submersibles were on display.

Working on the ESP News Brief — 10 August 2010:
Environmental Sample Processor partnership wins technology transfer award

Since 2005, MBARI researchers have worked with colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Spyglass Biosecurity to add functionality and marketability to MBARI's Environmental Sample Processor. This teamwork was recently recognized in the form of an "Outstanding Partnership" award awarded to LLNL by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC).

Transparent octopus News Brief — 6 August 2010:
Hide and seek in the deep

This new video on MBARI's YouTube Channel illustrates some of the many ways that deep-sea animals hide in plain sight.

Colobonema jelly News Brief — 29 June 2010:
Anthology of deep-sea squids

Squids are some of the most fascinating and diverse deep-sea animals. In this collection of short video clips, MBARI biologists highlight some of their favorite video clips of deep-sea squids. These squids were videotaped at depths ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters (about 1,000 to 3,300 feet) below the ocean surface.

News Release—23 June 2010:
Researchers discover source of essential nutrients for mid-ocean algae

For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In this week's issue of Nature, MBARI chemical oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 250 meters below the surface. This finding will help scientists predict how open-ocean ecosystems could respond to global warming.
^A researcher prepares to release the Apex float with its integrated ISUS nitrate sensor into the clear, mid-ocean waters northeast of Oahu.

Colobonema jelly News Brief — 8 June 2010:
New video from KQED reveals amazing jellies

A new video created by the San Francisco public television station KQED captures the elegance and mystery of jellies. The program was created as part of the award-winning multimedia science series, QUEST. It premiered on May 25, 2010 on public television stations in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.

News Release—28 May 2010:
MBARI sends underwater robot to study Deepwater Horizon spill

MBARI's Division of Marine Operations, under an agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), sent a high-tech robotic submersible to the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to collect information about the oil plume from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident for NOAA.
^MBARI's water-sampling AUV is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico from NOAA's research Vessel Gordon Gunter.

Swimming crinoid News Brief — 25 May 2010:
MBARI's 2009 Annual Report highlights past, present, and future

MBARI's 2009 Annual Report highlights not only the institution's accomplishments during 2009, but also some of the cutting-edge projects planned or in progress during 2010. The report was released this week and is available online as a PDF file.

Swimming crinoid News Brief — 28 April 2010:
Fascinating new video shows how animals move underwater

Deep-sea animals have evolved a variety of ways of moving through the water. Some are graceful. Some are improbable. But all are fascinating. This new video prepared by MBARI's Video Lab staff shows just a few of these approaches to underwater locomotion.
^A feather star swims across the screen in MBARI's latest YouTube video

Steve Fitzwater News Brief — 16 April 2010:
In memory of Steve Fitzwater

MBARI Senior Research Technician Steve Fitzwater passed away on April 5, 2010. Steve worked in MBARI's Chemical Sensors Group, developing new instruments and analytical techniques and organizing many important field experiments. He also helped author over 50 peer-reviewed publications during his three decades of marine research.
^MBARI Senior Research Technician Steve Fitzwater

News Release—23 March 2010:
New website tracks jellyfish strandings around the world

Suppose you're walking along the beach and you see a jellyfish washed up on the sand. Then you see another and then another. It's a jellyfish invasion! What do you do? Who do you call? If MBARI researcher Steve Haddock has his way, you'll take some photos and maybe a few notes, and send them in to his new Jellywatch web site, to share your discovery with the world.
^This photograph of a Portuguese man-of-war was posted on the Jellywatch web site by Otto Oliveira, a contributor from Brazil.

Tiny animals from Monterey Canyon sediment News Brief — 5 March 2010:
Submarine canyons provide mixed blessing for seafloor life

With dimensions comparable to the Grand Canyon, it's no surprise that Monterey Canyon harbors a variety of different seafloor habitats. But even on the flat, muddy floor of the canyon, animal communities vary considerably, according to a new paper by marine biologists Craig McClain and James Barry.
^Some of the tiny marine animals that live and feed in the muddy bottom of Monterey Canyon.

One of the Taney seamounts News Brief — 3 March 2010:
Undersea mountains exposed in Oceanography magazine.

A new, special edition of Oceanography magazine summarizes fascinating new research on seamounts, and includes several articles authored or coauthored by MBARI scientists.
^Sonar image of one of the Taney Seamounts, off the Central California coast.

Sparrowhawk biplanes on seafloor News Brief — 12 February 2010:
MBARI-documented wreck added to National Register of Historic Places.

On February 11, 2010, seventy five years after the dirigible USS Macon crashed into the Pacific Ocean, its crash site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This underwater wreck was extensively documented using MBARI submersibles.
^This photomontage shows the remains of two of the USS Macon's four Sparrowhawk biplanes.

News Release—26 January 2010:
Understanding human threats to the Earth's largest habitat—the deep sea

The majority of deep-sea animals, and perhaps the majority of all animals on Earth, live in the "deep pelagic zone"--the dark waters between the ocean surface and the seafloor. An important research paper by MBARI marine biologist Bruce Robison points out that this seemingly remote habitat is increasingly being affected by human activities.
^Deep pelagic animals such as this fangtooth have body shapes and lifestyles that are uniquely adapted to life in the deep sea.

13 January 2010:
Sea spiders and pom-pom anemones

Creeping slowly across the deep seafloor on long, spindly legs, giant sea spiders are found in many deep-sea areas. But, as with many deep-sea animals, we know very little about how sea spiders live. A recent paper by MBARI-affiliated researchers shows that sea spiders suck the juices out of deep-sea anemones. The researchers also discovered several locations where both anemones and sea spiders congregate in the dark depths of Monterey Canyon.
^A deep-sea pycnogonid hunches over a pom-pom anemone, its proboscis inserted into one the anemone's tentacles.

Last updated: Aug. 30, 2012