The info below has been assembled to provide information for visitors and others that may wish to use the computer or network facilities while visiting the MBARI campus and for those who may be corresponding or collaborating with MBARI staff from afar and need to know the best ways to communicate and share data with the Institute electronically. In case your specific need is not covered here or you have questions, please contact the Information Systems group, and we will do our best to address your situation.


The MBARI staff section of the site includes addresses for most MBARI staff members.

Message Size Limitations

The maximum message size which will be accepted by MBARI’s shore-based mail servers is 25MB. If you attempt to send an email message larger than this, you will receive an automated response telling you that the message wasn’t delivered.

If you need to deliver larger files to MBARI, use one of the following alternative data transfer methods:

  • Compress your attachments to get them below the size limit. Here are brief instructions on how to compress files using some popular platforms:
    • Windows: Right-click on the file or folder icon, and choose the Send To submenu. There will be a menu entry labeled Compressed (zipped) Folder. Click on that item and Windows will automatically create a ZIP file in the same directory with the same name as the original file or folder with a ZIP extension (e.g. You can then attach this file to an outgoing email message.
    • Mac: Control-click on the file or folder icon, or if you have a two-button mouse, right-click on the icon. Choose Compress “file” from the menu. A file will be created in the same folder (or on the desktop if you’re working on the desktop) with the same name as the original file with the extension “.zip”. You can attach this ZIP file to an outgoing email message.
  • Use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer the file or files. MBARI provides an anonymous FTP server where you can upload files for MBARI staff members.
  • Share the file(s) using a cloud file sharing service such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. MBARI staff have access to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, and may be able to invite you to share files to folders on their accounts.

MBARI provides an anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server to facilitate the transfer of data and other research related information between MBARI staff members, their colleagues, and their collaborators. Any use of MBARI’s FTP site or server for anything other than MBARI sanctioned projects and research is prohibited. All access and transfers are logged.

Server Name, User ID, and Password

  • Server name –
  • User ID – anonymous or ftp
  • Password – Please use your full email address (i.e.

Directory Structure

Once connected to the FTP server, you will see two directories (folders):

  • /incoming – The /incoming directory is the ONLY place where you may upload files using anonymous FTP. You may create sub-directories in /incoming if you have a lot of files to upload, to keep them together. Please note that you cannot see the contents of /incoming including those items that you upload. You may not download anything from /incoming.
  • /pub – The /pub directory tree is the location for files that may be downloaded using anonymous ftp. Attempting to retrieve a file from any directory outside /pub will result in an error being returned by the server.

Accessing the Server

You may access the server in a number of different ways:

  • Graphical user interface (GUI) FTP clients are recommended, as they provide easy drag-and-drop capabilities for uploading and downloading files via FTP, and are designed for robust file transfers. There are many to choose from, and features vary from one to another. Some free options are FileZilla or Cyberduck for Windows and macOS, or WinSCP for Windows.
  • For modest downloading only, the built-in FTP support in Windows File Explorer or macOS Finder can be sufficient. Type (or copy and paste) to the File Explorer address bar or the Finder Connect to Server field, and you can browse the FTP site as if it were a folder on your computer, and download files by dragging and dropping.
  • Command line FTP client tools are included with most operating systems, and may be preferred by those comfortable with command line tools. See your computer support resources if you need help with command line FTP.

Automatic Purge

  • PLEASE NOTE: The FTP directories are automatically purged every Sunday morning at 2:00AM. Any files in the /pub directory tree which are over 15 days old will be automatically deleted. Any files in the /incoming directory which are over 7 days old will also be deleted. If you are delivering a file to MBARI, be sure to notify your contact after your upload is complete so they may collect the file in a timely manner.

FTP links (URLs)

Clickable links to documents or folders on FTP servers can be included in email messages or web pages for easy access. An example of an FTP link for MBARI’s server would be, where folder and file will be replaced with the particular folder(s) and file names pointing to the linked file. If your system is configured with an FTP client defined for handling FTP URLs, clicking on the link will open the FTP client and start the file transfer (if a single file is specified) or open a window showing the FTP directory contents (if an FTP folder is specified). If an FTP client is not configured for automatic handling of clicked FTP URLs, the URL can be copied and pasted into an FTP client, Windows File Explorer, or macOS Finder’s Connect to Server dialog to access the resource.


Visitors to MBARI may use the Institute’s public wireless network, subject to MBARI’s Acceptable Use Policy. To utilize this network, your device will need to have WiFi capability (802.11g/n/ac) and support WPA2 encryption. The wireless network name (or SSID) will appear as an available network choice on your device. Ask an MBARI staff member for the current WiFi password.

MBARI has wireless network coverage most areas on the campus, indoors and out. This network allows access to the internet and the internet-accessible computing resources at MBARI. Internal resources are not directly accessible from the guest wireless network without an MBARI network account. If you need access to the MBARI internal network while visiting MBARI, you will need a user account which has been requested by either Human Resources or an authorized MBARI staff member.


Visitors to MBARI may use “LPR printing” to print to MBARI network printers. Step-by-step setup instructions for Windows and Mac clients are below. For those familiar with setting up LPR printing, here is a brief synopsis of the information you need:

  • Printer or host name – (the MBARI print server)
  • Queue name – the MBARI-assigned name of the desired printer (found on a label on the physical printer itself, or on the thunder web site.) [Note: Links to thunder are not accessible outside MBARI.]
  • Printer model – found on the physical printer itself, or the thunder web site.)
  • Printer driver – included in most newer operating systems, or downloadable from HP

Windows Setup

After determining the name and model of the printer you wish to print to, set up an LPR connection to it on a Windows computer by following the steps below. (These instructions were written for Windows 10.)

  1. Go to Start->Control Panel->Devices & Printers… and click the Add a Printer link at the top of the window.
  2. In the dialog that appears, click the “The printer that I want isn’t listed” link at the lower left.
  3. Select the “Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings” radio button and click Next.
  4. On the “Choose a printer port” screen, click the “Create a new port” radio button, and select “Standard TCP/IP Port” from the dropdown menu. Click Next.
  5. Enter in the “Hostname or IP address” field. In the “Port name” field, enter any name that makes sense to you, but it must be filled in. (It will default as the server host name.) Click Next to continue.
  6. Wait for the detection process to complete. It will likely fail; that’s ok.
  7. Select the Custom radio button and click the “Settings…” button.
  8. Under the Protocol section, select “LPR”. Under LPR Settings, in the “Queue Name” field, enter the name of the printer and tick the “LPR Byte Counting Enabled” checkbox. The printer names can be found labeled on the physical printers themselves, or on Thunder.
  9. Click Ok, then Next to continue.
  10. Locate the printer make and model on the list presented. (If the printer does not appear in the list, click the Have Disk button and navigate to drivers you downloaded from HP, or choose a similar printer model; the IS group can help choose a compatible alternate.) Click Next to continue.
  11. Enter your preferred name for this printer (or accept the offered name). Click Next to continue.
  12. Select whether to make this your default printer, and click “Print a test page” if you wish.
  13. Click Finish and the installation will be complete.

macOS Setup

After determining the name and model of the printer you wish to print to, setup an LPR connection to it on a macOS computer by following the steps below.

  1. Open System Preferences, and choose the Printers & Scanners preference pane.
  2. Click the ‘+’ button at the lower left to add a printer.
  3. In the Add window that appears, click the IP icon. Enter as the Address. Choose Line Printer Daemon – LPD from the drop down menu. Enter the printer name in the queue name field, and enter the human-readable name you would like to use to refer to the printer in the Name field.
  4. From the Use menu, choose Select Software… and choose the appropriate printer model from the list and click Ok. (If the printer model or a compatible alternate does not appear in the list, cancel the configuration process, install the driver for the printer, and begin again from step 1.)
  5. Click the Add button.
  6. Depending on the printer selected, an installable options sheet may appear. MBARI laser printers typically have all optional input trays installed, duplex capability, an internal hard drive, and memory upgraded to 128MB plus. Ask an IS staff member if you are not sure how to configure the installable options.
  7. Click the Ok button, and the installation will be complete.

Visitors to MBARI as well as remote collaborators and others accessing MBARI computer resources are expected to abide by MBARI’s Acceptable Use Policy for these resources. In this policy, the term, “Computer Facilities” is defined to include MBARI’s computers, computer networks, connections to external computer networks, and subscriptions to external computer services. This includes network devices owned by other individuals or organizations but attached to the Institute’s network. “Licensed software” collectively refers to copyrighted and proprietary programs, data and documentation. “Software” collectively refers to the programs, data, and documentation developed from the Institute’s research activities.

Acceptable Use

The following are general guidelines for appropriate usage of MBARI’s computer systems.

  • All use of computers and network resources must be consistent with the overall goals of MBARI. The Institute may at any time make determinations that particular uses are or are not consistent with the objectives of MBARI. The user community will be notified of any such determinations.
  • All persons using the computer facilities are responsible for using these facilities in an effective, ethical, and lawful manner.

Unacceptable Use

The CEO reserves the right to determine what constitutes unreasonable use of the Computer Facilities. MBARI attempts to provide an open and enriching setting for research in the ocean environment. Anything which interferes with the operation of any MBARI Computer Facility, licensed software, or software is prohibited. Prohibitions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Any attempt to gain root access or unauthorized access to any account on any MBARI computer system.
  • Accessing or attempting to access computers, computer software, computer data or information, or networks without proper authorization, regardless of whether the computer, software, data, information, or network in question is owned by MBARI or not.
  • The use of any software or hardware to monitor network traffic without explicit approval by the Information Systems group.
  • The use of any software which consumes unreasonable computer resources on a shared computer system and causes delay or lost work for others in the institute.
  • Reading another user’s electronic mail, data, information, files, or programs on a display screen, as printed output, or via electronic means, without the owner’s explicit permission.
  • Use of any MBARI Computer Facility to attack or break into any other system.
  • Use of any MBARI computer system for illegal or criminal purposes. This includes the violation of licensing restrictions.