Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
News from MBARI — 2015

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.

To see news items from a specific year, please select a year from the list below:
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  2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

View MBARI research stories and researcher web pages grouped by topic.
Feature story — 21 July 2015:
MBARI researchers win second place in Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE competition

MBARI researchers were part of a team that recently won second place in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a $2 million world-wide competition to develop an accurate and sustainable pH sensor for monitoring ocean acidification.
^MBARI Research Specialist Hans Jannasch checks DuraFET pH sensors similar to the ones used in the XPRIZE competition.

Marcia McNutt News Brief — 9 July 2015:
Former MBARI president Marcia McNutt nominated to head National Academy of Sciences

Marcia McNutt, who led MBARI for 12 years, was nominated this week to lead the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS prepares independent scientific reports for the federal government on science and technology issues.
^Marcia McNutt as president and chief executive officer of MBARI in 2007.

Poeobius worm News Brief — 1 July 2015:
Bristle worms get their turn

An amazing variety of bristle worms thrive in the ocean, both on the seafloor and up in the water column. Biologists call these worms polychaetes (pronounced "polly-keets"), which means “many small hairs” in Latin. Here are some examples of the bizarre and wonderful polychaetes that MBARI researchers have seen in the ocean depths.
^This polychaete worm in the genus Poeobius hardly looks like a worm at all. But it is one of the most common inhabitants of the depths of Monterey Canyon.

Piglet squid News Brief — 26 June 2015:
MBARI celebrates Cephalopod Week

For the second year in a row, MBARI has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Science Friday, the American Museum of Natural History, and other groups to present a wonderful array of cephalopod images and videos as part of "Cephalopod Week."
^MBARI researchers were diving deep in the Gulf of California when they saw this amazing squid in the genus Heliocranchia.

News Release — 2 June 2015:
MBARI researchers discover deepest known high-temperature hydrothermal vents in Pacific Ocean

In spring 2015, MBARI researchers discovered a large, previously unknown field of hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of California, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) east of La Paz, Mexico. Lying more than 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) below the surface, the Pescadero Basin vents are the deepest high-temperature hydrothermal vents ever observed in or around the Pacific Ocean
^These delicate carbonate spires formed at an active vent site in the newly discovered Pescadero Basin hydrothermal field.

Feature story — 1 June 2015:
Unusually high concentrations of toxic algae detected in Monterey Bay

In May 2015, as part of a large-scale experiment, ocean researchers measured some of the highest concentrations of harmful algae and their toxin ever observed in Monterey Bay.
^A diver prepares an Environmental Sample Processor to monitor harmful algal blooms.

News Release — 11 May 2015:
Ocean head count: Scientists develop new methods to track ocean biodiversity

How can you track changes in complex marine ecosystems over time? MBARI scientists are part of a team trying to do just this with a five-year, $7 million grant through the National Ocean Partnership Program. The proposed Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) will combine species counts and ecological data from existing research programs with newer data gathered using cutting-edge satellites, robots, and genetic analyses.
^Scientists may use an MBARI autonomous underwater vehicle to sample environmental DNA as part of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network.

pH instruments in MBARI test tank News Brief — 27 April 2015:
MBARI researchers reach final stage of Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

A team including two MBARI researchers has been selected for the final stage of a million-dollar ocean technology competition. The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE has offered two prizes of $1 million each to science and engineering teams from around the world to create a pH sensor that accurately and affordably measures ocean acidification.
^A variety of pH probes hang in the MBARI test tank during the second phase of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE competition.

Vampire squid News Brief — 22 April 2015:
Vampire squid live long and reproduce often

Female squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish end life with a bang. Usually, these soft-bodied cephalopods die after a single, end-of-life reproductive blaze of glory. But scientists have recently learned that one deep-red, foot-long cephalopod breaks this deadly pattern. Vampire squid reproduce over 20 times throughout their lives.
^Male vampire squid pass packets of sperm to females during mating. Females, like the one in this photo, have special pouches where they store the packets until they need the sperm.

Feature Story — 7 April 2015:
New exhibit takes visitors on a virtual ROV dive into Monterey Canyon

What’s it like to explore the depths of Monterey Canyon using an underwater robot? Visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium can find out in a new exhibit and auditorium program that highlight MBARI’s deep-sea research.
^Visitors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium enter the new "Mission to the Deep" exhibit, which features MBARI deep-sea research.

News Release — 17 March 2015:
Deep-sea robot, caught in underwater avalanche, yields new scientific insights

Exploring the deep sea, and especially submarine canyons, is a risky business. The floors of many submarine canyons are scoured by fast-moving underwater avalanches known as "turbidity currents." In 2013, MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts was engulfed by a turbidity current, giving researchers their first close-up view of one of these enigmatic events. The resulting video and data suggest that conceptual models and textbook descriptions of turbidity currents may need to be revised.
^These two images, taken just a few minutes apart, show the early stages of a fast-moving turbidity flow that engulfed MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts.

Feature Story — 4 February 2015:
Experimental wave-power buoy survives winter in Monterey Bay

In early January 2015, a team of MBARI engineers, led by Andy Hamilton, set out to sea to recover an experimental buoy that creates electrical energy from ocean waves. This power buoy had been deployed six miles southwest of Moss Landing Harbor for 131 days, while engineers tested the system’s ability to handle storms.
^Researchers recover the wave-power buoy in Monterey Bay.

Feature Story — 12 January 2015:
New SeeStar camera system allows researchers to monitor the depths without sinking the budget

To build equipment that can operate reliably in the deep sea, MBARI engineers must often use expensive, high-tech materials and complex electronic-control systems. This makes it difficult for researchers at other institutions to build similar equipment, and thus for MBARI to fulfill its goal of sharing its technology with researchers around the world. However, MBARI engineers recently designed a new underwater camera and lighting system which they hope will be simple and inexpensive enough so that almost any researcher could build one.
^SeeStar camera system mounted on a tripod beneath the Antarctic ice.

Last updated: Jul. 21, 2015