Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2014 projects

In situ instruments

Aerostat Hot Spot

Project leads: Brent Roman, John Ryan
Project manager: Brent Roman

To improve communications at sea, this project will investigate the use of a commercial aerostat to increase the range of direct radio communication between ships and mobile assets.

Benthic Event Detectors

Project lead: Charles Paull
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 transport events in Monterey Canyon.

Chemical Sensor Program

Project lead/manager: Ken Johnson
Project website

The project team will continue adapting the modified Honeywell pH sensor to operate at high pressure. The lab team also plans to publish results from more than 40 APEX floats, and to refine electronics for a low-cost particle counter. They will convert the Digi-ammonium system to analyze dissolved inorganic carbon and then deploy the system on LOBO moorings.

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 in the test tank and at sea.

Cytometer Technology for Autonomous Platforms

Project leads: Francisco Chavez, Denis Klimov
Project manager: Tom O'Reilly

The team will evaluate technologies for a fluorescent particle counter to distinguish chlorophyll-containing particles. Images of particles will be processed in real time with the aim of providing biomas, chlorophyll, and size distributions without human intervention.

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 perform functional testing of the next generation (3G) Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) sample collection and processing cartridges. They will be analyzing samples from the 2013 deployment of the deep ESP on MARS, and the microbial incubation experiment. Studies of Pseudo-nitzschia algal blooms will continue in concert with the CANON team.

Long-term Deployment of Composite Pressure Cases

Project manager: Jon Erickson

This project will analyze design of composite pressure cases for stress, strain, and buckling failure. The team will also perform long-term fatigue and water-absorption tests to obtain data on the performance of these materials during long-term deep-sea deployments. Test results will benefit MBARI and the oceanographic community in their efforts at providing persistent ocean presence, and the autonomous veicles that make such efforts possible.

Modification of In Situ Respirometers

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

MBARI’s upgraded respirometers will be equipped with deep-rated Honeywell durafet pH sensors and more-effective flushing pumps. 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: Francois Cazenave
Project manager: Andy Hamilton

Development continues on a self-contained wave-energy harvesting device for the purpose of providing electrical power to remote oceanographic equipment. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded development of the buoy. The initial primary goal will be the improvement of buoy survivability. Background work to improve power electronics and station keeping is also planned for 2014.

Self-contained Plankton Imager

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

An affordable, flexible imaging system will be field tested to verify that it can provide data on species abundance and diversity, two factors for establishing a baseline and evaluation of the health of marine ecosystems. Data analysis will be integrated with the Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS). 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, 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.

Shallow-Water Free Ocean Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FOCE)

Project leads: Jim Barry, Peter Brewer, Bill Kirkwood, George Matsumoto
Project manager: Bill Kirkwood
Project website

This project contributes to regional scientific collaborations, primarily those fostered by the Center for Ocean Solutions. The development efforts will involve improvements to the graphical user interface and data systems for experiments on the effects of ocean acidification on coastal animals using a FOCE system adapted for the nearshore kelp forest.

Wave Glider-Based Communications Hot Spot

Project leads: Mark Chaffey, Tom O'Reilly
Project manager: Brian Kieft

MBARI's use of real-time data for decision-making during field experiments is constrained by limited and costly access to field data. The project team plans to experiment with high-bandwidth communications relay from the long-range AUV via Wave Glider acoustic communications to shore.

Wave Glider Feasibility and Support

Project manager: Thom Maughan

This project will track resources required for instrumenting and operating a commercial Wave Glider instrument for a variety of MBARI projects.The Wave Glider could potentially be used to search for Benthic Event Detectors, as a communications hot spot, and to support CANON and other field experiments.

Last updated: Jan. 23, 2014