Midwater Respirometry System (MRS)
Project Managers: Kim Reisenbichler, Bruce Robison
Lead Scientist: Kim Reisenbichler
Lead Engineer: Brett Hobson
The metabolic rate of deep-living gelatinous animals is a major unknown in understanding the flux of carbon through the food web. The only experiment to directly compare in situ respiration vs. laboratory respiration of three gelatinous phyla, showed a 2- to 5- fold higher rate of oxygen consumption at depth at surface pressure. If more data show the same results, then the role of mesopelagic gelatinous zooplankton in the deep-sea carbon cycle is being greatly underestimated.
To measure the metabolic rates of midwater animals. MBARI engineers will build an ROV-deployed midwater respiration system (MRS). The system will allow researchers to conduct respirometry measurements on animals that do not survive capture and transport to the surface and to measure the effects of pressure on the respiration rates of organisms that can be respired at the surface.