News archive – 2014

images of wrecked barge Umpqua II

Researchers find wreck of sunken barge in Monterey Canyon

During a recent expedition to map earthquake faults in Monterey Bay, MBARI researchers discovered the wreck of a barge on the muddy seafloor. The barge Umpqua II was about 1,700 meters (one mile) below the ocean surface.
Jim Barry studies ocean acidification

MBARI scientist contributes to international ocean-acidification report

The latest and most important scientific findings about ocean acidification have been compiled into a single, cohesive publication, co-authored by a Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scientist. Senior Scientist James Barry is a lead author of the 100-page report.
Small rafts of Sargassum seaweed are a common sight in the Sargasso Sea.

Big changes in the Sargasso Sea

Over one thousand miles wide and three thousand miles long, the Sargasso Sea occupies almost two thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean. Within the sea, circling ocean currents accumulate mats of Sargassum seaweed that shelter a surprising variety of fishes, snails, crabs, and other small animals.
Members of Team HpHS (Japan) for XPRIZE competition

MBARI hosts Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE competition

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans is causing the oceans to become more acidic. Unfortunately, oceanographers lack instruments can measure the acidity (pH) of the ocean precisely and continuously for long periods of time.
montage of cephalopods

Celebrating cephalopods

Cephalopods—squids, octopuses, and their relatives—are some of the most beautiful and intriguing animals in the ocean. During the week of June 23-27, 2014, MBARI, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Science Friday teamed up to present a wonderful array of videos and still images of these creatures.
satellite image shows temperature of the ocean in and around San Pedro Bay on April 2, 2014

ECOHAB Spring 2014—Preliminary Observations

It’s now late May and the spring 2014 ECOHAB field experiment is winding down. Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) are still conducting occasional surveys of the San Pedro Bay, but the rest of the instruments have been recovered.
A large group of Asbestopluma monticola sponges grow on top of a dead sponge on Davidson Seamount, off the Central California coast. Image: © 2006 MBARI

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.
These images show two views of data collected by an underwater glider during late March, 2014. The zig-zag line shows the path of the glider as it traveled across San Pedro Bay and over deeper water offshore (to the left); the vertical scale is enlarged in the lower image. The colors of the line represent different concentrations of chlorophyll. The deep-red patch near shore (upper right) indicates high chlorophyll concentrations associated with an algal bloom. Image: © 2014 MBARI

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.
This photo shows one of 36 bundles of acacia wood that sat on the deep seafloor for five years as part of Craig McClain's wood-fall experiment. The bundle is held together by a mesh bag that allows the tiny larvae of deep-sea clams and other animals to colonize the wood. Galatheid crabs crawl around the outside of the mesh while brisingid sea stars attach to the yellow rope that allows MBARI's submersibles to lift the wood without damaging it. Image: © 2012 MBARI

Sunken logs create new worlds for seafloor animals

When it comes to food, most of the deep sea is a desert. Many seafloor animals feed on marine snow—the organic remnants of algae and animals that live in the sunlit surface waters, far above. However, marine snow only falls as a light dusting and doesn’t have much nutritional value.

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.