Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
MBARI Research
Marine Technology research at MBARI —
Ocean observatories and monitoring networks

Because the ocean is a three-dimensional environment that is constantly changing over time, oceanographers must often install many instruments over large areas or use mobile vehicles such as robotic submarines to carry their instruments around. By linking instruments at many locations together in networks that send data back to shore automatically, MBARI researchers have created cutting-edge monitoring systems known as "ocean observatories."

The Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) ocean observatory

The MARS observatory, currently under construction in Monterey Bay, will provide researchers with 24-hour-a-day data and video from 900 meters (about 3,000 feet) below the ocean surface. The MARS observatory also provides 10,000 watts of electricity to power experiments and instruments that would otherwise run on batteries.

The controlled, agile, and novel observing network (CANON)

The CANON experiments, are month-long, multi-platform experiments to study the interaction of physical process, such as winds and currents, with biological processes, such as algal blooms and red tides in and around Monterey Bay.
    MBARI lead researcher in this field:
    Francisco Chavez (Biological Oceanographer)

Miscellaneous marine technology

A variety of equipment for visualizing and maintaining a persistent research presence in the ocean.

The Land-Ocean Biological Observatory (LOBO)

The LOBO observatory, developed at MBARI, consists of a series of moorings that automatically collect information on currents, water quality, and physical conditions from Elkhorn Slough, a large wetland area adjoining Monterey Bay. Similar arrays of instruments, based on the LOBO system, are being used in other estuaries in the US and Canada.

    MBARI lead researcher for this project:
    Ken Johnson (Ocean Chemist)

The Monterey Ocean Observing System (MOOS)

The Monterey Ocean Observing System is an evolving deep-sea monitoring systems that uses a special mooring cable to transfer power and data between the seafloor to a buoy at the ocean surface.

MBARI's oceanographic monitoring buoys

For two decades, MBARI engineers and marine operations staff have been developing and improving oceanographic monitoring buoys off the coast of Central California. These buoys have provided an amazing variety of information about physical, chemical, and biological processes along the Central California coast. Such long-term data becomes ever more valuable as we try to understand human-induced changes in the ocean.

    MBARI lead researcher for this project:
    Francisco Chavez (Biological Oceanographer)

The autonomous ocean sampling network (AOSN)

A precurser to the CANON experiments, the autonomous ocean sampling network (AOSN) used a multi-institution, multi-vehicle approach to monitoring coastal ocean processes. Hosted by MBARI and funded primarily by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, three major AOSN experiments have been conducted in Monterey Bay. During these month-long experiments, researchers from all over the country have worked together to collect data using ships, buoys, drifters, robot submarines, satellites, aircraft, and other "platforms," as well as state-of-the-art computer models. Their goal has been to find out the most efficient ways to monitor and predict ocean currents and the upwelling of cold water that drives Central Coast ecosystems.


Last updated: Oct. 05, 2015