Time series allow us to investigate oceanographic variability across seasonal to interannual to decadal changes in the environment. Since 1989 the Monterey Bay Time Series (MBTS) has collected time series data with ships and autonomous platforms including moorings, AUVs, gliders, and satellites. In addition to tracking environmental change through time, the MBTS provides a contextual setting, data and infrastructure that support new ideas and process studies that use Monterey Bay as a natural laboratory for sensor and platform development. Our data are also used for a variety of purposes inside and outside of MBARI, including research and operational models, research (students and scientists) and management.

The MBTS project seeks to measure key components of marine ecosystems over time including all levels of life in the sea (biodiversity). This information is crucial for protection and management. This project also targets the activity and efficiency of the biological pump – the capture and deep-water sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Our studies measure the response of marine ecosystems to global environmental change. This information will improve understanding of how marine ecosystems will evolve in the future.

Fig. 1. Average sea surface temperature over Monterey Bay, CA from 2008 to 2018 showing regions of upwelling as well as the inshore upwelling shadow. Sampling station C1 indicated. Bathymetric lines at 50, 100, 500, and 1000m show outline of canyon. Inset plot: First principle component of SST variability of the region over the sampling period 2008-2018. SST satellite data from AVHRR Pathfinder (Saha et al 2018).
Fig. 2. Changes in community composition alongside environmental variation in Monterey Bay, CA. (A) Bar plot of average percentage of total reads by month for samples analyzed through 12S. (B) PC1 scores of individual 12S samples alongside North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) values. (C) PC2 scores of individual COI samples alongside the first principle component of SST variability in the MB region (D) PC2 scores of individual 18S samples alongside interpolated Silicate anomaly values at station C1 in Monterey Bay, part of the MBTS. All interpolations occurred over 30-day window. (BCD) Shaded red and blue line is 30 day average of PC scores.



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Current MBTS technologies

The following autonomous platforms are routinely used within the MBTS project:

Wave Glider occupies the full MBTS transect a minimum of monthly, as done aboard ship by the underway systems, and provide surface pCO2, pH and surface CTD data.

Dorado occupies the transect between C1 and M1, obtaining Gulper sample profiles at both stations;

LRAUVs occupy the transect from C1 to M2; 

Mooring M1 continuously monitors station M1 between MBTS missions.

Transecting Spray Gliders continue to extend the MBTS 200 miles offshore along CalCOFI Line 67, providing a California Current/Eastern Pacific perspective.