Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Ken Smith, Ph.D., Bruce Robison, Ph.D., Alana Sherman, Ph.D., Brett Hobson, and Paul McGill

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Expeditionary Engineering

Wednesday- August 27, 2008

Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.

In austral winter, June 2008, a group of MBARI employees from science, engineering, and marine operations organized an expedition to the Antarctic that was joined by external collaborators from five other institutions. The goal of this 30-day cruise on the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer was to study the biological and chemical impact of free-drifting icebergs on the pelagic ecosystem of the Southern Ocean. Another principle goal of this cruise was to test new instrumentation developed at MBARI. Our fleet of vehicles, designed to deploy instrumentation on top of, next to, and beneath these icebergs, included radio controlled airplanes, ROVs, and drifters. Like many of our expeditions things did not always go as planned. This is a story of triumph over adversity, creative engineering, and great MBARI teamwork. During this seminar, the Antarctic team will present some of the challenges of deploying novel instrumentation in a harsh and unpredictable environment. This sea-going tale, filled with adventure, disasters, dark skies, icy decks, crazy ideas, and ultimate success is not to be missed.


Next: September 3 - Gabriel Elkaim, Ph.D.