Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2011 projects

Benthic processes

Ocean Chemistry of the Greenhouse Gases

Project Manager: Edward Peltzer
Lead Scientist: Peter Brewer
Lead Engineer: Bill Kirkwood
Project website

Peter Brewer continues steady progress and innovation on studies of the impact of ocean acidification. Brewer's group is planning an expedition to Cascadia Margin off Vancouver Island to use the new Raman sediment probe to examine the natural oil-seepage systems. They will also build upon the success of their previous experiments with the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to observe and model the behavior of oil and methane gas droplets in the ocean.

Benthic Biology and Ecology

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Jim Barry
Project website

This project team’s investigation of deep-sea organisms and communities involves two themes: the biology of the high-CO2 ocean and factors influencing animal distribution and abundance in highly disturbed environments subjected to turbidity flows, such as Monterey Canyon. Multifactor experiments will evaluate the effects of temperature, pH, and hypoxia on crustaceans and fishes. The team will use the in situ respirometers, swimming flume, and treadmill respirometer to compare the metabolic rates of the animals while resting and during activity, in addition to measuring animals' protein synthesis and ion regulation.

Submarine Volcanism

Project Manager: Jenny Paduan
Lead Scientist: Dave Clague
Project website

Field plans include an expedition to the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges, mapping with the autonomous underwater vehicle D. Allan B., and using remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts to collect samples. The surveys will extend coverage around historic lava flows. Modification of the vibracoring system will allow for collection of volcanic sands. Goals are to use the mapping data, in combination with radiocarbon, magnetic, and U-series (Uranium-lead radiometric) age controls, to begin to assess time-varying processes along the ridge system.

Continental Margin and Submarine Processes

Project Manager:
Lead Scientist: Charles Paull
Lead Engineer: Dave Caress
Project website

This project team will continue baseline surveys within the Monterey Bay region and its study of sediment transport activity in upper Monterey Canyon. A focus of the 2011 Northern Expedition will be to map an area of submarine gas venting plumes and seeps around Eel Canyon, then follow up with ROV dives on targets of interest.

Molecular Ecology and Evolution of Marine and Aquatic Organisms

Project Manager: Shannon Johnson
Lead Scientist: Robert Vrijenhoek
Project website

The Molecular Ecology Group's goal is to develop robust molecular markers and probes for the identification of marine organisms. The group will integrate them with new MBARI technologies, such as the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for sampling marine biodiversity. The ESP will be used to test hypotheses about larval transport. The group is also contributing to the Controlled, Agile, and Novel Observing Network (CANON) Initiative, by sampling upwelling fronts and associated phytoplankton blooms.

Pelagic-Benthic Coupling

Project Manager and Lead Engineer: Alana Sherman
Lead Scientist:
Ken Smith
Project website

The Benthic Rover will be used to monitor sediment community oxygen consumption at Station M offshore of Central California. Concurrent time-lapse photography of seafloor processes will be recorded for comparison with food supply-and-demand measurements. Climate indices and satellite-monitored surface ocean conditions will be compared to time-series measurements at Station M.

Last updated: Dec. 14, 2010