FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MBARI research highlights
AGU 2003 Fall
FRANCISCOóResearchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
(MBARI) will present a dozen talks and posters at the American
Geophysical Union 2003 Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Some of these cover geological studies in the Gulf of California, Mexico; the
Hawaiian Islands; and the Santa Barbara Channel. Others focus on
technological tools, such as a computerized system that can pick out
sightings of deep-sea animals from hours of underwater video. A few
of these topics are highlighted below. A complete list of MBARI-authored
is also available.
volcanism in the deep sea
Geologists have long known that volcanic eruptions continued
intermittently after the main island-forming eruptions on the Hawaiian
islands. These "late-stage" eruptions formed landmarks such as Diamond Head
Clague, et al. show
that late-stage eruptions also occurred beneath the sea, hundreds of kilometers
away from the main islands. They describe undersea surveys of the
resulting lava flows, which cover an area comparable to all the present
Hawaiian islands combined. Davis and Clague present surprising evidence that most of these eruptions were
explosive, even though they occurred down to depths of 4,200 meters. This
contradicts the commonly held belief that explosive submarine eruptions
are an indicator of shallow water.
et al., Submarine
rejuvenated-stage lavas offshore Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau, Hawaii.
Mon AM, 0805, MCC 3006, V11B-01.
A.S. Davis, D.A. Clague, Pyroclastic
fragmentation of alkalic lava in abyssal depths at the North Arch Volcanic
Field, Hawaii (poster). Tues PM, 1330, MCC Level 1, V22C-0592.
in marine snow
MBARI's two remotely operated vehicles typically record more than 1300 hours
deep-sea video annually. This video forms a vital part of MBARI's scientific record.
After each dive, MBARI biologists review the footage and identify the
discernable animals and other objects of interest, recording the results
in a searchable database. This process requires a great deal of time and
expertise. Edgington, et al.
have been developing a computer
hardware and software system to spot,
identify, and track these organisms in a more automated way and eventually
in real-time at sea. This is particularly difficult
because many marine animals, such as jellies, are small and translucent. In addition, the computer must
ignore ubiquitous organisms such as krill, as well as small,
translucent particles of marine snow. The researchers
describe in a poster how well their computer system compares with human experts in its
ability to pick out animals of interest.
et al., Detection of
visual events in underwater video using a neuromorphic salience-based
attention system (poster). Mon AM 8:30, MCC Level 2, H11F-0912.
Dating underwater landslides
bathymetric data has revealed many large submarine landslides in the seafloor off the
California coast. Some of these landslides could have generated devastating tsunamis. However, because of lack of field data, geologists
have found it difficult to determine how long ago these slides occurred. Greene,
et al. describe a method for using sediment thickness to
analyze the failure history of a complex submarine landslide near Santa
Barbara, which covers about 130 square kilometers of sea floor. Barry and Whaling
discuss the challenges and possibilities of using biological communities,
like deep-sea clam fields, to
date such slides.
one slide event of the complex compound Goleta submarine landslide, Santa
Barbara Basin, California, USA. Wed AM 08:30,
MCC 3000, OS31A-03.
J.P. Barry, P.J. Whaling, Use
of vesicomyid clams as proxies for ageing submarine landslide events. Wed AM 09:30,
MCC 3000, OS31A-07.
that grow overnight
D.S. Stakes, et al., Hydrothermal
deposits in the Southern Trough of Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California:
observations and preliminary results from the 2003 MBARI dive program
(poster). Wed PM 1330, MCC Level 1, OS32A-0234.
Geologists typically study Earth processes
that take place over hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years. But in the Guaymas
Basin last Spring, researchers chronicled the dynamics of a hydrothermal
vent field where chimney structures grew as fast as one
meter in 24 hours. Deep-sea scientists from MBARI, Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution, and the U.S. Geological Survey teamed to study
this active area during an expedition in March 2003 using MBARIís research
vessel Western Flyer. Their intensive effort relied on remotely operated
vehicle Tiburon to measure and monitor the geology, chemistry, and
microbiology of the vents in unprecedented detail. Early results are
presented in posters by
D.S. Stakes, et al. and
M. K. Tivey, et al. in the session "Recent advances in
understanding submarine environments and the future of submergence
research and facilities."
Tivey, et al., Use of thermocouple arrays to investigate the
environment within actively forming chimney deposits, Guaymas Basin
(poster). Wed PM 1330, MCC Level 1,
images related to these research presentations can be found at:
Debbie Meyer, AGU Press Room Dec. 8-12
or at MBARI ( 831) 775-1807, email@example.com