Ocean health

One of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s long-term goals is to restore the health and productivity of the world ocean, on which all life depends. MBARI research results have contributed to raising public awareness about the health and future of the ocean.

Underwater robots collect and archive seawater samples

A long-range AUV cruises beneath the surface during field trials in Hawaii. Image courtesy of Elisha Wood-Charlson, University of Hawaii

Ocean microbes produce at least 50 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere while removing large amounts of carbon dioxide, and form the foundation of marine food webs. Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) deployed a small fleet of long-range autonomous underwater vehicles (LRAUVs) containing an integrated Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a miniature robotic laboratory that collects and preserves seawater samples at sea. MBARI engineers designed the robots to allow researchers to track and study ocean microbes in unprecedented detail.

“The new LRAUVs can transit for over 600 miles, and use their own ‘eyes and ears’ to detect important oceanographic events like phytoplankton blooms,” Edward DeLong of UH explained. “These new underwater drones will greatly extend our reach to study remote areas, and also will allow us to sample and study oceanographic events and features we can see by remote satellite imaging, even when ships are not available.” This information will provide unique insight into oceanographic features such as open-ocean eddies—swirling masses of water that move slowly across the Pacific Ocean, which can have large effects on ocean microbes—and will improve current ocean models, which are critical for developing expectations on the health of future oceans.

Related

Ocean Health Projects

/by

Studying the biological pump

May 17-19, 2018 – During a recent research cruise MBARI's Marine Microbial Ecology Group and their colleagues retrieved experiments from the seafloor to learn about carbon cycling in the deep sea.
/by

Pelagic-Benthic Coupling 2018 Expedition

April 18-25, 2018
MBARI's Pelagic-Benthic Coupling Group, led by Chief Scientist Ken Smith, return to their study site at Station M, located 200 kilometers off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, to understand how the supply of carbon affects deep-sea communities on the seafloor.
/by

M1 mooring turnaround

Apr 5, 2017 - MBARI’s M1 mooring is an important data collection station that floats above the seafloor in Monterey Bay continuously taking a variety of measurements to give researchers a clear picture of oceanographic conditions.

Making an impact

/by

Exploration and discovery

Exploration inevitably leads to discovery. MBARI is uniquely positioned to explore the deep-sea realm and its connections with the ocean surface. Easy access to Monterey Bay’s deep submarine canyon provides a natural laboratory for scientific research and engineering innovation.
/by

Climate change

Climate-driven changes in upwelling, ocean mixing, oxygen minimum zones, and nutrient cycling are likely to affect the year-to-year variation in ocean ecosystem processes. These changes will potentially impact marine life and the fundamental underpinnings of fisheries from shallow to deep-sea habitats.
/by

Ocean health

One of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s long-term goals it to restore the health and productivity of the world ocean, on which all live depends. MBARI research results have contributed to raising public awareness about the health and future of the ocean.