News archive – 2015

Sponges and basket star on Davidson Seamount. Image (c) NOAA/MBARI

New website catalogs thousands of deep-sea animals and seafloor features

MBARI's new Deep-Sea Guide makes it easy for anyone to search MBARI's treasure trove of images and scientific observations of deep-sea animals, seafloor habitats, geological features, and research tools. Previously only available for internal use, the Deep-Sea Guide is now available to scientists and the general public.
MBARI's mooring is equipped with dozens of instruments to monitor ocean conditions.

Mooring maintenance from diver's perspective

MBARI divers conduct routine maintenance on the M1 mooring in Monterey Bay. The M1 mooring was installed in 1989 when the Institute was only two years old. Since then, the buoy, equipped with dozens of different scientific instruments, has collected over 25 years of data.

A hot time in Monterey Bay

MBARI researchers have been monitoring seawater temperatures at our M1 mooring in the middle of Monterey Bay since 1990. Biological oceanographer Francisco Chavez has been analyzing these data to find out how they reflect conditions in the Pacific Ocean as a whole.

Covered in anchovies

When remotely operated vehicle Ventana dove near the head of Monterey Canyon yesterday, in the area of intense whale activity, the vehicle was surrounded by the very thing attracting the whales—an incredibly thick school of anchovies.

Return to the USS Macon

On August 18, researchers on board the research vessel Nautilus used the ROVs Hercules and Argus to dive on the wreck of the USS Macon, a rigid-frame dirigible airship that crashed off the Big Sur coast in 1935.

Observing the feeding currents of larvaceans

On July 27, Kakani Katija and collaborators Alana Sherman, Dale Graves, Chad Kecy, and Bruce Robison tested DeepPIV (particle image velocimetry) using MBARI's MiniROV. The DeepPIV instrument consists of a laser and optics that can illuminate "slices" through transparent animals (such as larvaceans) using a single plane of light.
Instruments used in the Coordinated Canyon Experiment

Instruments used in the Coordinated Canyon Experiment

Submarine canyons are notoriously difficult to study because underwater avalanches periodically surge down the bottoms of many canyons, often burying or destroying scientific instruments. After more than a decade of placing (and sometimes losing) equipment in Monterey Canyon, MBARI researchers have created a unique new tool to study canyon processes.

Finding Opisthoteuthis

Last Thursday, MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Stephanie Bush and her team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium went to sea aboard the R/V Rachel Carson in Monterey Bay. They were on a mission to collect octopuses in the genus Opisthoteuthis to be used for species description and display at the aquarium.
Tomoptorid worm

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. Here are some examples of the bizarre and wonderful polychaetes that MBARI researchers have seen in the ocean depths.
Tiburon Dive# 547

Lat= 24.23370743
Lon= -109.66649628

Depth= 971.5 m  Temp= 4.403 C  Sal= 34.341 PSU  Oxy= 0.09 ml/l  Xmiss= 84.3%

Source= digitalImages/Tiburon/2003/tibr547/DSCN1056.JPG
Epoch seconds= 1049117121
Beta timecode= 02:27:48:24

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."
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicles travel several thousands of kilometers in the ocean, collecting data as they go.

Three long-range AUVs launched in one day

Last week, a group of MBARI engineers deployed three long-range autonomous underwater vehicles (LRAUVs). Developed at MBARI, LRAUVs can travel several thousands of kilometers in the ocean, collecting data as they go.

Postdoctoral Fellow Kakani Katija at TEDWomen conference

On May 28, MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Kakani Katija presented a talk at the TEDWomen conference in Monterey about her research studying how marine organisms interact with the fluid world. As a bioengineer, she is interested in the underwater “footprints”, or wakes that organisms leave behind as they move through the water.

Distressed sea lions in Monterey Bay

If you’ve visited beaches in the Monterey Bay area earlier this year, you may have seen young California sea lions stranded on the beaches, weak and emaciated from lack of food. Recently, the Marine Mammal Center has reported that juvenile and sub-adult sea lions have also been stranding on beaches as a result of domoic acid poisoning.

SeeStar camera system displayed at Maker Faire

Scientist Steve Haddock, Electrical Engineer Chad Kecy, and Mechanical Engineer François Cazenave introduced the SeeStar camera system at the Bay Area Maker Faire, a large festival held May 16th and 17th to celebrate invention and creativity by showcasing creations that relate to science, engineering, or art.

Western Flyer departs the Gulf of California

The Gulf of California expedition is nearing its end, with one more leg led by Chief Scientist Charlie Paull starting on May 7. The R/V Western Flyer and its crew have been in the Gulf of California since early February and have completed six research cruises, each for a different MBARI science team and their collaborators with different research goals.
pH probes in MBARI test tank

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.
Vampire squid in Monterey Bay

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.

Divers remove line caught on Western Flyer

On March 17, MBARI's research vessel Western Flyer returned to the dock in La Paz after a two-week midwater-biology cruise. While the ship was at the dock, researcher Steve Haddock and ROV Pilot Randy Prickett dove underneath the boat to clear a line that had become wrapped around part of the boat. The ROV pilots spotted the offending line during an ROV launch when visibility was particularly good.

Recycled propeller installed at MBARI front entrance

MBARI has a new art piece in front of its main entrance—an old propeller from one of its research vessels, the Rachel Carson. The bronze propeller is five feet across and weighs 1,000 pounds; a crane was required to install it in place. The R/V Rachel Carson originally operated as an oil field supply vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.

MBARI engineers compete in third phase of XPRIZE competition

Last fall, MBARI hosted the first two phases of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE competition. The competition challenged teams to design robust pH sensors that could accurately and affordably measure ocean acidification.
wave-power buoy recovery

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.

Ocean acidification studies in Antarctica

Ocean acidification poses a threat to the life and diversity of marine ecosystems. MBARI scientists and engineers have designed a sophisticated tool for studying the effects of ocean acidification that can be applied to various marine environments, from shallow-water kelp forests to the deep sea.