The SURF Center (Sensors: Underwater Research of the Future)
David and Lucile Packard Foundation funding and five externally funded grants are brought together to create MBARI’s first “center”. The theme for the center is the continued development, extension, and applications of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)using the various sources of support in synergistic ways. Funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) helped to complete the second-generation ESP. The Keck Foundation has supported building a pressure housing and sampling module to deploy the ESP at 1-km depth. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) funding helped create a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) module for use in the ESP. The NSF-Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) has adopted ESP as a cornerstone for its sensor technology and will also be connecting in other ways to MBARI’s initiatives. The Moore Foundation is also investing in new analytical capabilities for the ESP through SURF. The Packard Foundation support for this project will primarily fund completion of a graphical user interface (GUI) to speed and simplify deployment of the instrument, shiptime for deployments locally in shallow and deep water, at the MARS node, and on Axial Seamount, and for assistance with technology transfer.