Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
News from MBARI — 2014

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 — 14 April 2014:
Researchers describe four new species of “killer sponges” from the deep sea

Killer sponges sound like creatures from a B-grade horror movie. In fact, they thrive in the lightless depths of the deep sea. Scientists first discovered that some sponges are carnivorous about 20 years ago. Since then only seven carnivorous species have been found in all of the northeastern Pacific. A new paper authored by MBARI marine biologist Lonny Lundsten and two Canadian researchers describes four new species of carnivorous sponges living on the deep seafloor, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California.
^A large group of Asbestopluma monticola sponges grow on top of a dead sponge on Davidson Seamount, off the Central California coast.

News Release — 9 April 2014:
Sunken logs create new worlds for seafloor animals

When it comes to food, most of the deep sea is a desert. In this food-poor environment, even bits of dead wood, waterlogged enough to sink, can support thriving communities of specialized animals. A new paper by biologists at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) shows that wood-boring clams serve as “ecosystem engineers,” making the organic matter in the wood available to other animals that colonize wood falls in the deep waters of Monterey Canyon.
^This photo shows one of 36 bundles of acacia wood that sat on the deep seafloor for five years as part of a long-term wood-fall experiment.

Feature Story — 9 April 2014:
Study of harmful algal blooms builds on year-to-year experience

In late March 2014, like stealthy electronic sharks, two underwater gliders began cruising the ocean in and around San Pedro Bay, off Southern California. But instead of looking for a meal of fish or sea lions, these robotic vehicles were looking for signs of microscopic algae. These gliders are just the first of a small menagerie of instruments that scientists will be placing in the ocean over the next month to track harmful algal blooms as part of this year’s spring ECOHAB (Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) experiment.
^This satellite image shows the temperature of the ocean surface in and around San Pedro Bay on April 2, 2014. The purple and blue areas have colder water, possibly due to "upwelling" of cold water near the north end of the bay.

Poster for Oceans 180 competition News Brief — 15 January 2014:
Three MBARI videos make the top ten in NSF-funded video competition

Scientists are increasingly using video to communicate their research to the public. Last fall, the inaugural Ocean 180 Video Challenge highlighted this task by asking scientists to submit 180-second videos to be judged by middle-school students worldwide. This week, three MBARI videos were announced as finalists in this competition.
^Poster for Oceans 180 competition.

Last updated: Apr. 14, 2014