Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Climate change in extreme environments

Our lab group uses autonomous instrumentation to study ecological responses of marine communities in extreme environments to changes in climate and carbon cycling.  The lab conducts an ongoing time-series study at Station M, 4000 meters deep in the Northeast Pacific.  In addition to this work, studies in Antarctica measure impacts of melting icebergs on marine biogeochemistry (see published research).  Our recent work in the Sargasso Sea has shown a major decline in biodiversity over the past 40 years, during which ocean temperatures and acidity have risen steadily.

Research Group: Ken Smith (Senior Scientist), Alana Sherman (Senior Engineer), Crissy Huffard (Senior Research Technician), Kathy Dunlop (Postdoctoral Fellow), Henry Ruhl (Collaborator), Larissa Clary (Collaborator)

Benthic Rover being deployed from stern of ship by crane iceberg in water listing to one side showing partial underside
sargassum frogfish in sargassum seaweed
Expeditions and Collaborations
Sargasso Sea expedition logs
Summary of Sargasso Sea research

Recent publications
K.M. Dunlop, et al. In Press). An evaluation of deep-sea benthic megafauna length measurements obtained with laser and stereo camera methods.

Smith, K.L. Jr., et al. (2014). Large salp bloom export from the upper ocean and benthic community response in the abyssal northeast Pacific: day to week resolution.

Kuhnz, L.A, et al. (2014) A benthic megafaunal community in the abyssal northeast Pacific: structural changes over a 24-year time series. (video)

Huffard, C.L. et al. (2014) Pelagic Sargassum community change over a 40-year period: temporal and spatial variability. (press release)

Smith, KL, Jr. et al. (2013) Deep ocean communities impacted by changing climate over 24 y in the abyssal northeast Pacific Ocean. (press release)

Smith, KL, Jr. et al. (2013) Icebergs as unique Lagrangian ecosystems in polar seas.  (related press release)

Last updated: Dec. 16, 2014