The benthic rover during tests of the drive mechanism at about 3,300 feet depth in 2006. The rover is headed to the left; the bare poles on its front will hold sensitive respirometers when the vehicle is connected to MARS.
The range and endurance of the new long-range AUV (LRAUV) greatly expands the types of observations and experiments possible with autonomous platforms. For instance, one of the institute’s AUVs carries a comprehensive suite of sensors out to MBARI’s M2 mooring and back.
The MBARI mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission to map the seafloor autonomously. The sonars are a swath multibeam sonar, two sidescan sonars, and a sub-bottom profiler.
ROV Doc Ricketts is capable of diving to 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles). The Western Flyer is the support vessel for Doc Ricketts and was designed with a center well whose floor can be opened to allow Doc Ricketts to be launched from within the ship into the water below.
Research programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) encompass the entire ocean, from the surface waters to the deep seafloor, and from the coastal zone to the open sea. The need to understand the ocean in all its complexity and variability drives MBARI's research and development efforts.