Current projects


Past projects




Instrumentation and sensor development

Testing and refinement of the Environmental Sample Processor
Project Manager/Lead Engineer: Scott Jensen
Lead Scientist: Chris Scholin

The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) is a unique, MBARI-built instrument that could be applied to numerous questions spanning basic oceanographic research to monitoring of microorganisms known to affect the health of humans and wildlife. The potential utility of the ESP takes advantage of the fact that many protocols used to detect organisms, or specific molecular "signatures" of interest, require similar sample handling and processing regimes. The ESP was designed to accommodate those needs and thus meet the requirements of a wide range of researchers as well as resource management personnel.

For FY2002 we propose a one-year project to continue gaining experience deploying, using and recovering the existing, in situ ESP prototype in Monterey Bay. To date, this unit has been deployed only once in the Gulf of Maine (GOM). Building on that experience, we will configure the ESP to develop DNA probe arrays for detecting toxic and nontoxic phytoplankton species spanning several different taxonomic classes (diatoms, dinoflagellates, raphidophytes), and potentially one or more species of barnacle (larvae) in collaboration with the Vrijenhoek lab. The ESP will also be configured to archive samples for microscopy, phycotoxin and possibly sediment analyses (the latter with Johnson). The field effort will involve deploying and recovering the ESP mooring and ground-truth sampling. Sampling during the deployment ideally will take place in conjunction with other researchers at MBARI  as well as external collaborators. The Molecular Biology Data Base (MDB) system will be used as the primary tool for integrating disparate data sets obtained during the ESP field deployment. By the end of 2002 we expect to have MDB at a state where groups outside of MBARI  can begin to use it reliably, and perhaps continue its further development.