On August 7, the R/V Western Flyer headed to sea for a seven-day expedition with the Midwater Ecology research group, led by Bruce Robison. During this expedition, they plan to deploy the Midwater Respirometry System, conduct midwater transects, collect specimens for lab studies and for exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium, make in situ observations, and jig or trawl for squid at night. They also plan to deploy a small remotely operated vehicle (MiniROV) for shallow transecting and in situ observations.
Steve Haddock's research group and their collaborators study deep-sea gelatinous zooplankton (various types of jelly-like animals). Haddock's research focuses on bioluminescence, biodiversity, and ecology of deep-sea and open-ocean ctenophores, siphonophores, radiolarians, and medusae. In addition to studying the evolutionary relationships of these animals, Haddock is interested in cloning the proteins that enable these jellies to emit light or fluoresce.
MBARI's Pelagic-Benthic Coupling Group, led by Chief Scientist Ken Smith, is currently working on the R/V Western Flyer at Station M, located 200 kilometers off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.
MBARI scientists are making their third expedition to the Gulf of California to build on research conducted during expeditions in 2012 and 2003. They will continue many ongoing investigations in this 1,130-kilometer-long (700-mile-long) finger of water that separates the peninsula of Baja California from mainland Mexico.