Tim works in MBARI’s Biological Oceanography Group where he runs MBARI’s local shipboard programs, all of which are directed at understanding the interplay between physics, chemistry and phytoplankton in the ocean off California. In our oldest cruise series — the Monterey Bay Time Series or MBTS cruises — we’ve conducted day cruises in and offshore of Monterey Bay each 2-3 weeks since 1989. In our larger-scale, ‘SECRET’ cruise series (aka Studies of Ecological and Chemical Responses to Environmental Trends) we extend the MBTS work 175 miles (320 km) offshore into the California Current along CalCOFI Line 67, with more than 55 quarterly cruises since 1997. This cruise work and complimentary mooring, satellite, ROV, AUV and modelling data have allowed us to develop a rich view of the biogeochemistry of our coastal ocean on several spatial (Monterey Bay, upwelling system, California Current) and temporal (weather event, seasonal, interannual, decadal) scales with a focus on phytoplankton biology. Drawing CO2 from the atmosphere and at the base of ocean food chains, phytoplankton present endless fundamental science questions. We are now working to transition routine shipboard work—insofar as possible—to our growing fleet of autonomous vehicles and samplers.
We also conduct process and expeditionary studies. In Monterey Bay we participated in the ‘Shift-up’ and ‘CANON’ cruise series, and on the basin-scale we extended our SECRET Line 67 transect 2000 mi (3800 km) across the California Current to Hawaii. In 2003, 2012 and 2015, we documented along-coast seasonal changes in coastal upwelling and related properties from Cabo San Lucas to Monterey Bay. These basin- or gyre-scale efforts provide spatial context for our central California work.