Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2013 projects

In situ instruments

Application of Chemical Sensors

Project lead/manager: Ken Johnson
Project website

The project team continues to develop and deploy low-cost chemical sensor networks to monitor significant expanses of the ocean. A main focus in 2013 will be to improve sensor metrology to quantify the physical and chemical processes that impact sensor performance and accuracy.

Benthic Event Detectors

Project leads: Charles Paull, Bill Ussler
Project manager: Brian Kieft

The benthic instruments developed and deployed in the upper canyon will play a major role in multi-institutional experiments on sediment transfer events in Monterey Canyon.

Chemical Sensor Program

Project lead/manager: Ken Johnson
Project website

The project team will continue on adapting the modified Honeywell pH sensor to operate at high pressure. The lab team also plans a final revision of control electronics of the DigiSCAN phosphate and ammonia sensors.

Coastal Profiling Float

Project leads: Ken Johnson, Gene Massion
Project manager: Gene Massion

Much of the global ocean carbon cycling occurs in relatively shallow coastal waters where nutrients are upwelled to the surface. To enhance observations in the coastal zone, the mechanical, electrical, and software systems for a profiling float capable of characterizing fundamental biogeochemical properties have been designed for operation in relatively shallow waters. The team plans for rigorous testing before finalizing the 500-meter depth-rated design.

Cytometer Technology for Autonomous Platforms

Project lead: Jim Bellingham, CANON PIs, Denis Klimov
Project manager: Tom O'Reilly

The team plans a one-year feasibility study to identify and evaluate technologies for autonomous identification and quantification of marine microbes. The products will be a model of cytometer performance and a report describing the value, adaptability, and risk of various designs for use in small low-power autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

Enhancing Detection Chemistries for Investigating Microbial Ecology

Project leads: Holly Bowers, Roman Marin III, Chris Preston, Chris Scholin, Bill Ussler
Project manager: Jim Birch

The research team will continue to develop techniques for processing and integration of sample collection to application of multiple microfluidic and/or nanofluidic analysis. They also plan to develop an incubation system to be deployed in concert with the deep Environmental Sample Processor (D-ESP) on MARS for extended periods.

Lagrangian Sediment Trap/Vertical Profiler

Project leads: Larry Bird, Ken Smith
Project manager: Alana Sherman

Lagrangian sediment traps that have been upgraded with acoustic profiling capabilities and new batteries will be field tested to assure stability of their control systems at shallow depths. The traps will contribute data to the CANON initiative and will also be deployed during Station M cruises to assess the vertical flux of material from surface waters to the deep sea.

Modification of in situ Respirometers

Project leads: Jim Barry, Craig Okuda,
Project manager: Bob Herlien

MBARI’s respirometers have been upgraded with reliable pumps and quartz chambers. The team plans to incorporate Ken Johnson's improved Honeywell durafet pH sensors. The respirometers will allow for perturbation experiments on midwater and benthic animals under controlled conditions of CO2 enrichment to enhance understanding of the consequences of predicted ocean change.

Power Buoy/Renewable at-sea Power

Project lead: Andy Hamilton

Development continues on a self-contained wave-energy harvesting device for the purpose of providing electrical power to remote oceanographic equipment. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding the exploration of optimal control strategies to increase the power captured by the system. In 2013 the main activities will involve algorithm development, a one-month test deployment, and data analysis and report writing.

Self-contained Plankton Imager

Project leads: Steve Haddock, Chad Kecy, Mike Risi, Ken Smith
Project manager: Chad Kecy

Based on functional requirements developed with science users, an affordable, flexible imaging system will be designed that can provide data that are not currently available such as species abundance and diversity, two factors for establishing a baseline and evaluation of the health of marine ecosystems. Such an imaging system would enable cost-effective monitoring and evaluation of marine protected areas.

Sensors: Underwater Research of the Future (SURF) Center

Project leads: Scott Jensen, Doug Pargett, Brent Roman, Chris Scholin
Project manager: Jim Birch
Project website

Funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation is utilized synergistically with funds from the Gordon and Betty 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, deploy, enhance, and transfer the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) technology. Engineering activities will continue to concentrate on developing the next generation ("3G") instrument, which will be smaller and suitable for use on the long-range AUV and other free-ranging platforms.

Vertical Profiling Camera

Project leads: Paul McGill, Ken Smith
Project manager: Paul McGill

This feasibility study will evaluate development of a vertically profiling camera system that would extend from the seafloor at 4,000 meters to within 100 meters of the sea surface.

Last updated: Feb. 13, 2013