Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2010 projects

New in situ instruments

Chemical Sensor Program

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Ken Johnson
Project website

The project team will continue work on a pH sensor to operate at high pressure. This ISFET (Ion Selective Field Effect Transistor) sensor appears well suited for measuring seawater pH over long time periods. Johnson is preparing the electronic interface and testing facilities needed for this effort. His lab is also developing an integrated ISFET data logger that can be used with a profiling float or on moorings. The lab is also beginning development of a pCO2 sensor that uses a Durafet pH sensor as the detector. This instrument promises the high stability of the Durafet pH sensor, while being simple and having low power requirements. It would also operate in sub-surface environments, where optical and gas-phase sensors do not work.

Application of Chemical Sensors

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Ken Johnson

The goal of this project is to develop low-cost chemical sensor networks that can monitor significant expanses of the ocean. With National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) funding and in partnership with the University of Washington float lab, the Johnson lab is equipping about eight to 10 profiling floats per year with In-Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer (ISUS) sensors and deploying them in the open ocean. Johnson is analyzing the data from the growing global array to obtain real-time assessments of net community production in the surface and carbon export at depth. The pH controllers on the Land Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) array of moorings in Elkhorn Slough are being upgraded to the new Honeywell version. Johnson and researcher Jim Barry expect to complete their eddy-correlation experiments in the benthic boundary layer in 2010.

Sensors: Underwater Research of the Future (SURF) Center

Project Manager: Jim Birch
Lead Scientist: Chris Scholin

MBARI (Packard Foundation) funding works synergistically with funds from the Moore Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), industry, and various states to continue to develop, expand, deploy, apply, and transfer the Environmental Sample Processor technology. The Packard Foundation support in 2010 for this project will primarily fund a software tool for automated array processing, a link between the graphical user interface and the local data management system, and a conceptual design for the third-generation system. In addition, MBARI will support a field program for deploying an instrument in the Santa Monica basin, one-month deployments in conjunction with the CANON initiative, pier-based operations at key points along the California coast, and three strategic deployments in conjunction with major externally-funded field programs.

Benthic Event Detectors

Project Manager: Bill Ussler
Lead Scientist: Charlie Paull
Lead Engineer: Alana Sherman

The goal of this feasibility/development project is to design a device that resolves and records down-canyon movement within the sediments of Monterey Canyon during a mass-movement event. The devices will be buried within the seafloor and measure both tilt and acceleration.

High-Resolution Seismic Refraction

Project Manager: Dave Caress
Lead Engineers: Dave Caress, Rich Henthorn

A chirp seismic source outfitted on ROV Ventana has been detected by ocean bottom hydrophones to image shallow oceanic crustal structure. In collaboration with Charlie Paull, Caress will use this capability in Santa Monica Basin using the ROV Doc Ricketts to resolve the extent of the gas hydrate deposit responsible for the venting at the crest of the Santa Monica Mound.

Sedimentation Event Sensor

Project Manager: Paul McGill
Lead Scientist: Ken Smith

This project will develop an observatory-friendly sediment trap that can be adjusted for variable sampling periods. Current sediment traps integrate all material collected between deployment and recovery. The new design will use a rotating plate to record both visible-light camera and fluorescence macro-images of collected sediment. The system is destined for MARS, but could be deployed on other observatories.

Feasibility Study for a RED ONE Camera

Project Manager: Todd Walsh
Lead Scientist: Steve Haddock
Lead Engineer: Mark Chaffey

Given the importance of high-quality underwater video and still imagery to MBARI’s research and education objectives, a team consisting of science, engineering, and video professionals will investigate the current state of the art in high-performance camera systems to determine whether it is feasible to upgrade our ROV systems at this time. Downstream impacts of upgrading ROV cameras that might render other systems obsolete and thus require upgrading as well will also be considered.

Last updated: Jan. 27, 2010