Our Mission

Advance marine science and engineering to understand our changing ocean.

David Packard believed that addressing the unique challenges of ocean exploration required a new type of research institute—one independent in spirit and collaborative by design. In 1987, he founded MBARI on the core principle of science, engineering, and marine operations working together in equal partnership to develop innovative marine technology. Today, MBARI is known for our willingness to think big, be bold, and invest in long-term outcomes. Together with our education and conservation partner, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and our principal funder, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we strive to provide the best science, engineering, and outreach tools to the ocean science and conservation community.

Our Vision

MBARI envisions a future where we better understand and can predict ocean processes, from atoms to ecosystems; the highest-quality data informs ocean management and policy; and the ocean research and conservation community is diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

Our Values

Five core values drive our work and our commitment to creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable ocean community.

Peer relationships

We believe that diverse, multidisciplinary teams are critical for success. We encourage and benefit from the diversity of capabilities and work styles of our staff. We emphasize equality, teamwork, mutual respect, and good citizenship.


We look for new ways to use technology to help accelerate progress in ocean science and resource management. We value asking hard questions, posing new problems, taking big risks, and learning from failure to inform our work. We strive for revolutionary change over incremental progress in ocean science.


Excellence requires us to foster a community that values kindness, dignity, and acceptance. We recognize that our differences make us stronger, and actively seek to learn from each other. MBARI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion requires that our interactions are always respectful.


We seek to push the boundaries of ocean exploration and discovery by reimagining and approaching grand challenges like climate change in novel ways that result in new and scalable solutions. We achieve this by setting our own course, defining our own agenda, and prioritizing principled leadership.


We value excellence in the conduct of MBARI activities. We are not motivated by profit or politics. We aim to implement all MBARI policies and procedures with honesty, fairness, and consistency.