Benthic Biology and Ecology Group

James Barry, Principal Investigator

We look at the habitats and lives of deep-sea organisms.  The cold, dark, deep sea is relatively unexplored, so much of our research aims to discover what is there and how it lives.

Our research also strongly centers on understanding the influence of human activities and climate change over the biology and ecology of benthic fauna.  Society needs to know what to expect as this influence expands and intensifies across all ocean ecosystems.

We use advanced marine robots—both remotely operated and autonomous—to take measurements and samples for laboratory analysis.  We are also developing technologies to experiment directly on the seafloor, allowing us to see what it might be like for the animals and habitats if human activities continue contributing to ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation.

Effects of humans

A major focus of our laboratory is the response of marine animals and ecosystems to changes in ocean conditions that originate in human activity.

Faunal patterns

The objectives of these projects are to determine the patterns of abundance of marine populations on the continental shelf and slope in Monterey Bay, and measure changes in abundance and over time.

Previous research

Many benthic communities in Monterey Canyon are linked to the seepage of methane- and sulfide-rich fluids from the ocean floor.

Technology development

The Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment system (FOCE) and the Benthic Respiration System (BRS) are tools we use to manipulate the pH and chemical composition of seawater.


James Barry

James Barry

Senior Scientist & Benthic Ecologist


Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Acoustic instruments
Acoustic fingerprinting
Acoustic community ecology
Acoustics in the news
Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Krill hotspots in the California Current
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Ecogenomic Sensing
Genomic sensors
Field experiments
Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
Water quality
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
ESP Web Portal
In the news
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Revealing the secrets of Sur Ridge
Exploring Sur Ridge’s coral gardens
Life at Sur Ridge
Mapping Sur Ridge
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Previous research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Station M: A long-term observatory on the abyssal seafloor
Station M long-term time series
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
CCE instruments
CCE repeat mapping data
Monterey Canyon: A Grand Canyon beneath the waves
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Bioluminescence: Living light in the deep sea
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Past research
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Montseny, M., Linares, C., Carreiro-Silva, M., Henry, L.-A., Billett, D., Cordes, E.E., Smith, C.J., Papadopoulou, N., Bilan, M., Girard, F., Burdett, H.L., Larsson, A., Strömberg, S., Viladrich, N., Barry, J.P., Baena, P., Godinho, A., Grinyó, J., Santín, A., Morato, T., Sweetman, A.K., Gili, J.-M., Gori, A., (2021). Active ecological restoration of cold-water corals: techniques, challenges, costs, and future directions. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8: 1-21.
Stark, J. S., Peltzer, E.T., Kline, D.I., Queiros, A.M., Cox, E.T., Headley, K., Barry, J., Gazeau, F., Runcie, J.W., Widdicombe, S., Milnes, M., Roden, N. P., Black, J., Whiteside, S., Johnstone, G. , Ingels, J., Shaw, E., Bodrossy, L., Gaitan-Espitia, J.D., Kirkwood, W., Gattuso, J.P., (2019). Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments: Scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects. Progress in Oceanography, 172: 89-107.
Maier, K.L., Rosenberger, K.J., Paull, C, K., Gwiazda, R., Gales, J., Lorenson, T., Barry, J.P., Talling, P.J., McGann, M., Xu, J., Lundsten, E., Anderson, K., Litvin, S.Y., Parsons, D.R., Clare, M.A., Simmons, S.M., Sumner,E.J., Cartigny, M.J.B., (2019). Sediment and organic carbon transport and deposition driven by internal tides along Monterey Canyon, offshore California. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 153: .
Full publications list