Current projects


Past projects




MBARI ocean observing systems

MBARI ocean observing system program
Project Manager: Keith Raybould

Long term plans for the MBARI ocean observing system (MOOS) program include both mooring-based and cabled-based observatory systems.

The mooring observatory system will provide capabilities to instrument upper water column and benthic locations of scientific interest in various geographical sites. Advanced capabilities will include satellite based bi-directional communications, event detection and response, as well as integration and operation with other advanced platforms including AUVís and vertical profilers. It is envisaged that there will be three major deployment phases during the development program, the first being an engineering test program, the last two being tied closely to science programs. After the development program deployments, there may be other build and deployment programs that are part of science proposals to outside funding agencies.

MBARIís cabled observatory interests are based on a cabled network in Monterey Bay located in areas of scientific interest. It will also function as a test bed for validating NEPTUNE technologies. MBARI is also a full partner in the NEPTUNE program.

Many of the subsystems being developed for the two observatory systems are common to a large degree, such as AUV docking, instrumentation software infrastructure, instrumentation interface, cable laying and connection, event detection and response, data management systems, etc.

In the early phases of the MOOS program, many of the subsystems will go through proof of concept development phases with relatively independent test programs. The later deployments of the MOOS mooring will be increasingly integrated to include many of these sub-systems.

MOOS mooring observatory
Lead Engineer: Mark Chaffey

There are three main deployment phases during the mooring observatory development program, the first being an engineering test program, the last two being tied closely to science programs.

  • Engineering Deployment #1

This deployment is based on testing the high risk elements of the mooring system. The aim will be to verify the mooring dynamics, test the design life of the cable terminations, bending/axial strain reliefís, and to verify our ability to perform the ROV between the riser cable and the seafloor-mounted instrumentation.

  • MOOS Mooring System Deployment #2

This mooring will include the final low power version power system, completed intra-node communications system and a data connection back to shore. The operating software will be an initial release of Instrumentation Software Infrastructure (ISI) software with proof-of-concept applications drivers to support the specific instrument suite specified in the target science experiment. Early versions of the Shore Side Data System will be tested with this system. This deployment will likely be in 2003. The science experiment will determine the configuration of the Mooring System #2.

  • MOOS Mooring System Deployment #3

This MOOS system will include many of the advanced mooring capabilities including autonomous AUVís with power recharge and data transfer. Satellite communications will allow bi-directional communications for remote deployments. Deployment is anticipated at the earliest in 2005, and will be tied closely into a science program that will benefit from these capabilities. Selection of the science experiment will not take place till after deployment #2.

MOOS cabled observatory
Lead Engineer: Gene Massion
Lead Scientist: John Ryan

  • Canyon Dynamics Experiment

The Canyon Dynamics experiment will be completed early 2002.


MBARI is a full NEPTUNE partner, with the principal contributions being to:

  • the systems engineering development of NEPTUNE
  • installation of MARS, the Monterey accelerated    research system testbed for NEPTUNE, scheduled        for installation in Monterey Bay in 2004.

Overview of the 2002 MOOS Projects

In 2002, six existing MOOS projects (listed below) will continue:

New work in 2002 includes AUV docking, concept design evaluation of a Vertical Profiler for upper water column studies and planning for MARS.