Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
MBARI news briefs—
January through March 2007

This page describes recent discoveries, achievements, publications, and events at MBARI.
For more information on these stories, please contact Kim Fulton-Bennett:,


^MBARI electrical engineer Scott Jensen prepares the environmental sample processor for its first deep-water sampling mission.
9 March 2007:
MBARI researchers perform first automated analysis of genetic material in the deep sea

In a culmination of seven years of work, MBARI researchers this week performed the first automated analysis of genetic material in the deep sea. Using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Ventana, they carried an automated laboratory called the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) down to a depth of 1,000 meters in Monterey Bay. The ESP has been used previously to detect bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms in near-surface waters. In order to adapt this instrument for use in the deep sea, the researchers had to develop a "deep-water sampling module," which allows the ESP to collect samples of sea water at depths where the water pressure can be several hundreds of times that at the surface. Eventually this device may be used at deep-sea hydrothermal vents or hooked up to the MARS ocean observatory in Monterey Bay.

^The newly named hagfish swimming over pillow lava on the East Pacific Rise.
22 February 2007:
New species of hagfish found near hydrothermal vent

While diving near hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise in the human-occupied submarine Alvin, MBARI marine biologist Joe Jones spotted a hagfish swimming along the seafloor. Hagfish are common in some seafloor areas, but rare in this type of environment, so Jones asked Alvin's pilot to the collect the animal using the submarine's "slurp gun". The hagfish turned out to be a new species, which was recently named Eptatretus strickrotti, after Bruce Strickrott, the pilot who captured it. This is the first hagfish ever captured near a hydrothermal site.

^The surface buoy of MBARI's Shepard Meander ocean observatory
16 February 2007:
MBARI researchers discuss ocean-observing systems at AAAS conference

This week, several MBARI researchers are speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. On Saturday, February 17, three researchers are presenting talks as part of a symposium organized by MBARI technologist James Bellingham and entitled "Informing Management of the Earth's Environment with New Ocean-Observing Systems." Biological oceanographer Francisco Chavez will talk about how ocean observing systems can help scientists understand the links between climate change and fisheries. Marine chemist Peter Brewer will describe deep-sea experiments that will help researchers better understand the effects of ocean acidification. Social scientist Judith Kildow will wrap up the symposium by describing some of the ways that ocean observing systems can affect public policy and benefit society as a whole. On Sunday, February 18, MBARI president and CEO Marcia McNutt will give a topical lecture entitled "Sustainable Resources from the Oceans: Taking Some Lessons (Good and Bad) from the Shore Side."

^MBARI president and CEO Marcia McNutt
19 January 2007:
MBARI president addresses women's science conference

On January 10, 2007, MBARI president and CEO Marcia McNutt spoke at a conference for women leaders in science, technology and engineering at the Arab Organizations Headquarters in Kuwait. The conference brought together more than 200 scientists, entrepreneurs, science administrators and graduate students from 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. While speaking on "Professional Development for Women," McNutt described some of the cutting-edge research by female molecular biologists at MBARI.

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Last updated: Aug. 06, 2012