Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2010 projects

Upper ocean biogeochemistry

Ecology and Dynamics of Picophytoeukaryotes

Project Manager: Alexandra Z. Worden
Lead Scientists: Alexandra Z. Worden, Sebastian Sudek
Project website

The Worden lab continues to focus on understanding the ocean’s capacity for CO2 uptake via photosynthesis. They will be analyzing data collected along transects from Moss Landing to the open ocean, exploring how the picoeukaryote community (tiny plankton 0.2 to 2.0 microns in size) varies with nutrient content of the water masses. Probes for discriminating between different phytoplankton taxa are being developed and a subset of these will be incorporated into the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) to automate characterization in situ. A second ambitious goal is to develop methods for attaining gene expression data from uncultured phytoplankton as well as sequencing genomes from uncultured phytoplankton straight from the environment. To date, marine microbiologists are uncertain of which cellular/physiological characteristics will give the most insight to ocean dynamics and change. Therefore, the third goal is to develop more sensitive measures for organism physiology through laboratory experimentation on a representative picoeukaryote (Micromonas). Finally, the project team proposes to initiate laboratory research on the role of grazers in the mortality of marine microbes and the transport of primary production.

Natural and Human-Induced Change in Monterey Bay
and the California Current System

Project Manager: Tim Pennington
Lead Scientist: Francisco Chavez
Project website

The Chavez lab continues its time series work in Monterey Bay, using moorings, ships, drifters, gliders, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), satellites, and models. The program in the past has identified a number of natural rhythms, including El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and now seeks to identify human impacts on the natural system by focusing on system components, such as pH and oxygen, in the near-shore region (changes in pH and oxygen). The time series will evolve in 2010 to meet the needs of the CANON Initiative and to improve methods for assessing ocean acidification.

Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN)

Project Manager: Jim Bellingham
Project website

The project team will extend the theory and technology of using multiple, heterogeneous platforms in the ocean from solving physical oceanographic problems to addressing biological process experiments. In comparison to physical processes, such as upwelling, biological processes are highly variable in time and space, and likely will require a Lagrangian sampling strategy to track evolving water masses as opposed to an Eulerian strategy. Theory will be coupled with the development of Long Range AUV hardware and cyberinfrastructure.

Probe Chemistries for Use with the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)

Project Manager: Chris Scholin
Lead Scientists: Chris Preston,Roman Marin III
Project website

Now that the Environmental Sample Processor is equipped with a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) module, the ESP group is developing new assays that utilize nucleic acid amplification techniques. The goal is to track both genes and gene expression. The lab is also making use of piezoarray printing technology to create custom arrays on flow-through filters for detecting harmful algae and the substances they produce in situ with the ESP. These will be utilized as part of highly visible field experiments associated with the CANON initiative. An ESP-users workshop is being organized to aid in technology transfer.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Upper-Ocean Research and Applications

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: John Ryan
Lead Engineer: Kanna Rajan

Regular sampling of the upper water column along transects will be continued in Monterey Bay, using a Dorado AUV equipped with instruments to measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, fluorescence, optical backscatter, etc. This sampling effort supports multiple research programs. Pooling the AUV time in one project provides greater flexibility for swapping missions between researchers to meet unexpected opportunities and delays in projects. Much of the field time in 2010 will be devoted to the CANON Initiative.

Last updated: Feb. 04, 2015