Press Release


Feast and famine on the abyssal plain

Population booms of algae or animals near the sea surface can sometimes result in huge pulses of organic material sinking to the deep seafloor.

Press Release


A deep-sea squid with tentacle tips that “swim” on their own

Many deep-sea animals such as anglerfish use parts of their body as lures to attract prey. Some deep-sea squids may use this strategy as well. In a recent paper, researchers associated with MBARI describe a deep-sea squid that appears to use a different method to lure prey—its tentacle tips flap and flutter as if swimming on their own.

Press Release


MBARI research shows where trash accumulates in the deep sea

Surprisingly large amounts of discarded trash end up in the ocean. Plastic bags, aluminum cans, and fishing debris not only clutter our beaches, but accumulate in open-ocean areas such as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Now, a paper by researchers at MBARI shows that trash is also accumulating in the deep sea, particularly in Monterey Canyon.

Press Release


Deep-sea vent animals not as isolated as they seem

Miles below the ocean surface, diverse ecosystems flourish at hydrothermal vents. Without sunlight, animals live off of bacteria that thrive on chemicals billowing out of the Earth's crust. These strange communities appear entirely detached from life on land.

Press Release


Scientists discover extraordinary new carnivorous sponge

Ten thousand feet below the ocean's surface, the seafloor is a dark, desolate, and dangerous place where even the most benign-looking creatures can be deadly predators. Recently, a team of scientists discovered an unlikely new carnivorous species— the harp sponge (Chondrocladia lyra).



MBARI researchers discover what vampire squids eat (it’s not what you think)

In the 100 years since marine biologists hauled the first vampire squid up from the depths of the sea, perhaps a dozen scientific papers have been published on this mysterious animal, but no one has been able to figure out exactly what it eats. A new paper by MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Henk-Jan Hoving and Senior Scientist Bruce Robison shows for the first time that the vampire squid uses two thread-like filaments to capture bits of organic debris that sink down from the ocean surface into the deep sea.



MBARI researchers create the most detailed map ever of an underwater lava flow

  Axial Seamount, 480 kilometers (300 miles) off the coast of northern Oregon, is one of the best-studied underwater volcanoes in the world. For 30 years, researchers have explored this volcano using submersibles and monitored its activity using pressure sensors, tilt meters, temperature probes, and seismometers (earthquake detectors). Now MBARI researchers have created the world’s …



Harnessing the awesome power of the ocean waves

May 11, 2012 – MBARI engineer Andy Hamilton looks out his office window in Moss Landing and points at the waves crashing on the beach below. “Pretty impressive, aren’t they? You’d think there’d be a way to make use of all that energy.” Since 2009, Hamilton has led a team of engineers trying to do just that.



MBARI discovers new deep-sea hydrothermal vents using sonar-mapping robot

May 11, 2012 – “As the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) descended into the blue depths above the Alarcón Rise, the control room was abuzz with anticipation," wrote MBARI geologist Julie Martin in her April 22nd cruise log. "Today we [are] planning to dive on one of the strangest environments in the deep sea: a hydrothermal vent field.”



Turning tides on ocean acidification

Marine researchers want to know the effects of an increasingly acidic ocean, and have turned to two tide pool dwellers for some insight. It appears that mussels and purple sea urchins could tell scientists how marine life might adapt to changes in ocean acidity (pH).



A bountiful harvest of deep-sea acorn worms

Acorn worms have historically been thought of as shallow-water animals that live in burrows in muddy-bottom areas. Only four species were known to live in deep water. However, a recent paper by MBARI collaborator Karen Osborn and her coauthors shows that acorn worms live in the deep ocean environments around the world.



First controlled experiments on ocean acidification in the deep sea

After six years of design and testing, MBARI scientists have a sophisticated new tool for studying the effects of ocean acidification on deep-sea animals. This complex system, the Free-Ocean Carbon Enrichment (FOCE) experiment, is the only experiment in the world that allows researchers to study ocean-acidification impacts on deep-sea animals in their native habitat, using free-flowing seawater.



Unique three-way partnership yields new ocean-monitoring buoy

In late May of 2011, MBARI and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) installed a new ocean-monitoring buoy about 30 miles offshore of Monterey Bay. This collaborative effort, brokered by the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS), could pave the way for similar buoys maintained by NDBC around the country, providing a wealth of new scientific information.



Antarctic icebergs help the ocean take up carbon dioxide

The first comprehensive study of the biological effects of Antarctic icebergs shows that they fertilize the Southern Ocean, enhancing the growth of algae that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then, through marine food chains, transfer carbon into the deep sea.



Blowing the lid off underwater volcanoes

Nature rarely hands over her secrets without a fight. Solving our planet's mysteries means doggedly following clues that may only reveal a small part of the story.



Diving into the Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea is an ocean within an ocean, bounded not by land masses but by a vortex of swirling ocean currents—a place where mats of seaweed drift on the high seas and shelter a unique community of open ocean animals.