MBARI Senior Research Technician Shannon Johnson Williams described five new species of Alviniconcha snails using DNA sequences. These snails live in the hottest and most acidic waters near hydrothermal vents. Because they live in these extreme conditions, Alviniconcha snails have severely degraded shells covered in spikes or they have no shells at all.
In the deep waters of the ocean, there are no places to hide. To avoid predators, many deep-sea animals have dark-colored, reflective, or transparent bodies. Others have evolved elaborate methods of deception.
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.
On Monday, November 17, MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robison was leading a dive using the remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts in Monterey Bay when he came across this amazing deep-sea anglerfish about 580 meters (1,900 feet) below the ocean surface.
MBARI researchers aboard the R/V Rachel Carson discovered an apparently old, large jet engine in Monterey Bay while conducting a seafloor survey 17 miles from Moss Landing, California. During the survey, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) pilot Mike Burczynski observed a large sonar signal.
The latest and most important scientific findings about ocean acidification have been compiled into a single, 100-page publication. The report was co-authored by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Senior Scientist James Barry.
MBARI's CANON research team is on the Flyer deploying many oceanographic instruments to study the interplay between physics, chemistry, and biology, and represent the core of the oceanic food web.
Marine microbiologists typically use large databases to compare the genetic material of one microbe to that of others. Unfortunately, existing databases are woefully incomplete when it comes to microbes in the ocean.
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.
Ocean researchers are on the verge of gaining new insights about the changing Southern Ocean with help from sensors developed by a research team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
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.
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four and one half years—longer than any other known animal.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute was thrilled to host 17-year-old A.J. Wright as he fulfilled his wish to meet marine scientists at the institute. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions, arranged yesterday’s visit for A.J. and his family, who toured the campus and met Scientist Bruce Robison.
During a recent remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive, MBARI researcher Rob Sherlock observed an ambitious Solmissus jelly eating a siphonophore, Praya dubia. Last week, MBARI’s midwater ecology group conducted research from the R/V Western Flyer using ROV Doc Ricketts in Monterey Bay.
On Monday, the R/V Rachel Carson departed for a 32-day expedition in the Pacific Northwest. The trip is comprised of four legs with two port stops based out of Newport, Oregon. During the first leg, water samples will be collected for Senior Scientist Bob Vrijenhoek near Bodega Head, off the coast of northern California.
Using maps produced by the AUV, MBARI researchers on the Western Flyer have identified hundreds of hard surfaces on the seafloor south of Santa Cruz Island. With the ROV Doc Ricketts, researchers can visually confirm and identify these objects, many of them man-made.
On Monday, a group of MBARI scientists led by Peter Brewer headed south along the California coast on the Western Flyer. They are revisiting an area south of Santa Cruz Island that was previously used as a disposal site for both civilian and military debris.
MBARI’s Board of Directors visited the institute last month for our annual Day of Engineering, Science, and Technology (DOEST) to hear presentations from scientists and engineers about current research projects at the institute.
MBARI’s summer internship program began earlier this month, with 18 students arriving from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Germany. The summer internship is an opportunity for college students to work alongside MBARI staff on a project for ten weeks.
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.
Inside the machine shop at MBARI is a rectangular metal box that looks like it could be a large refrigerator with a built-in microwave. In actuality, this enormous container is a three-dimensional (3D) printer, one of two professional 3D production systems at MBARI.
From the vampire squid to the flapjack octopus, deep-sea cephalopods come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. Yet few humans have seen these animals alive. Since April, members of the public have been able to see these animals for the first time, as part of the ongoing Tentacles special exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The ocean’s surface waters and the deep sea provide contrasting living conditions for marine animals. The deep sea is cold with high pressure and limited food and oxygen. The surface is warm with low pressure and more food and oxygen. The ctenophore Bolinopsis infundibulum has evolved to survive in both habitats.
Far below the ocean’s surface, sunlight does not reach the deep sea. But many deep-sea animals display an astonishing array of vibrant colors when they are illuminated by the bright lights on MBARI’s remotely operated vehicles.
Last Saturday, MBARI participated in the first annual Monterey Bay Sanctuary Celebration at the Santa Cruz Wharf. In association with the wharf’s 100th anniversary, the event showcased marine recreation and research in the Monterey Bay area.
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.
Ctenophores, or comb jellies, are typically found in the water column, far above the seafloor. Yet a few species manage to live on the bottom of the ocean. MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock and his colleagues are currently at sea on MBARI’s research vessel Western Flyer, studying ctenophores and other deep-sea animals with ROV Doc Ricketts.
Amy Zimmerman, a postdoctoral fellow at MBARI, recently conducted field experiments to study the interactions between viruses and nutrients in the ocean. She traveled to the Sargasso Sea (in the North Atlantic Ocean) to investigate how these interactions impact picophytoplankton, the smallest community of phytoplankton.
Thousands of shipping containers are lost from cargo vessels each year. Many of these containers eventually sink to the deep seafloor. In 2004, scientists at MBARI discovered a lost shipping container almost 1,300 meters (4,200 feet) below the surface of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Doc Ricketts successfully completed its 600th dive yesterday. Since February 2009, Doc Ricketts has explored the deep sea as far north as the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the Pacific northwest coast and as south as Baja California, Mexico.
Aboard the Western Flyer, MBARI’s Midwater Ecology Group is halfway through an eight-day expedition in Monterey Bay. Yesterday morning, the team and crew members excitedly observed a fangtooth fish using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Doc Ricketts.
Last week, MBARI’s Midwater Ecology Group, led by Bruce Robison, embarked on an eight-day expedition aboard the R/V Western Flyer to conduct research in Monterey Bay. The lab will use a midwater toolsled, equipped with sampling chambers and an underwater “vacuum cleaner,” to collect animals in the deep sea.
The Benthic Rover slowly creeps along the seafloor, settles at a random study site for two to three days, and then moves along to the next site approximately ten meters away. The Rover was built to measure oxygen consumption of benthic, or seafloor, organisms as a way to understand the supply and demand of carbon in the ocean’s deepest waters.
A group of researchers led by MBARI geologist Charlie Paull are conducting an expedition this week on R/V Western Flyer. Among other research techniques, they are using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Doc Ricketts to collect samples of sediment that will help them identify the location of the San Gregorio Fault Zone where it crosses the northern flank of the Monterey Canyon.
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.
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.
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.
As their name implies, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) navigate through the ocean on their own. In situ sensors on the AUVs measure physical characteristics (such as temperature and salinity) that are useful for scientists. But how and when do MBARI scientists access these data from AUVs?
Beginning in 2009, a team of MBARI engineers (led by Andrew Hamilton) designed a wave-power buoy—an instrument that utilizes ocean waves to produce useable electricity (typically 300-400 Watts on average, depending on the weather).
For the past 12 years, Mandy Allen has provided vital support to MBARI by ensuring that the institute continues to operate smoothly. It’s no surprise that Mandy was asked by her supervisor a few years ago to present at a conference in Ireland to discuss her professional experience in obtaining permits for one of MBARI’s biggest accomplishments, the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS).
When MBARI researchers deployed an environmental sample processor (ESP) from a ship to collect and analyze water samples about 100 miles off the coast of Hawaii a few years ago, communications between the ship and ESP were very weak.
Bill Ussler, a senior research specialist at MBARI, is investigating techniques for cultivating bacteria in the deep sea. Attempts to cultivate deep-sea bacteria in the laboratory have generally failed because most the bacteria do not survive the transit to the surface and it is difficult to create incubation systems that mimic the deep sea. Bill designed an in situ microbial incubation system to circumvent these problems.
Comb jellies were included in Science News’ list of top genomes of 2013. Last year, MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock was an author on a paper that highlighted these fascinating and wondrous creatures. In this study, researchers compared the genomes of organisms, including that of Mnemiopsis leidyi, a comb jelly native to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
Students from Pajaro Valley High School participate in Monterey Bay Aquarium’s WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitat) program. They conduct field experiments alongside scientists on environmental research projects they designed themselves.
Seven MBARI geologists and biologists spent the day at nearby Moss Landing Marine Laboratories learning how to use a sophisticated instrument called a scanning electron microscope (SEM, top image). Unlike traditional microscopes that produce images using light, SEMs focus a beam of electrons on a sample.
The R/V Western Flyer, MBARI’s larger research vessel, has started the new year at a shipyard in northern California for maintenance. Among other repairs, the ship’s thruster motors require service and the motors’ housings need to be replaced.
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.