Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2010 projects

Midwater research

Midwater Ecology

Project Manager: Kim Reisenbichler
Lead Scientist: Bruce Robison
Project website

The Midwater Lab is documenting the effect of declining oxygen concentrations on midwater communities. Correlating animal abundance and oxygen concentrations in the ROV midwater time series demonstrates that several species have already been displaced by the expanding oxygen minimum zone. Both laboratory work and experiments with the midwater respirometer in deep water allow Robison’s lab to anticipate the impacts by measuring nutrient energy consumption at each trophic level of the midwater food web. They are also estimating the amount of carbon that flows through the system. By collaborating with the Ocean Chemistry and Benthic Biology and Ecology project teams, the Midwater Group is linking their research to ocean acidification research using manipulative experiments in the midwater respirometers. In partnership with researchers at Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Robison has proposed a project to the Center for Ocean Solutions to investigate hypoxia in Monterey Bay driven by both natural and anthropogenic causes.

Midwater Time Series

Project Manager: Rob Sherlock
Lead Scientist: Bruce Robison
Project website

Since 1993, MBARI has been surveying the midwater and providing a quantitative analysis of the animals encountered there. With approximately one ROV dive per month, the time series measures the identity, abundance, and vertical distribution of the constituents of the midwater fauna at specific sites. The team expects some challenges as the time series work is moved to the new ROV, Doc Ricketts, in mid-2010. The data generated have been employed in a large number of publications and dissertations. The midwater time series is being mined to form the basis of the new Biodiversity Initiative that involves a large number of MBARI researchers.

Zooplankton Biodiversity and Bio-optics in the Deep Sea

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Steve Haddock

Laboratory studies, in-situ observation, and molecular techniques are being used to understand phylogenic relationships of gelatinous plankton and the origin of fluorescence in the ocean. This work on the diverse origins of bioluminescence and the variety of photoproteins in the marine environment is also of interest in medical research. Haddock is trying to accurately quantify the extent of genetic diversity, and which groups of organisms make up the greatest mass in the tree of life, and how this diversity is changing.

Last updated: Jan. 27, 2010