Benthic Biology and Ecology OverviewTeamProjectsPublicationsLatest NewsTechnologies Although most of the deep-sea – the ocean and seafloor deeper than 200 meters (650 ft) – remains unexplored, access to deep ocean waters is improving with new robotic tools, increasing our ability to explore and observe the deep-sea. Our team uses unmanned robots that dive to depths of 4 km to explore previously unobserved seafloor environments, with a goal of advancing our understanding of the diversity, biology, and ecology of animals inhabiting deep-sea habitats. Our studies span from Monterey Canyon, a submarine canyon equal in size to the Grand Canyon, to deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems flourishing on deep rocky reefs such as Davidson Seamount, or deep-sea hydrothermal springs that provide warmth for nesting abyssal octopuses.We characterize the biological diversity and abundance of animals from video observations during our explorations and couple these with advanced robots to collect time-lapse images or measure metabolic rates of animals, or oceanographic sensors to measure currents and water conditions. Together, we hope to understand what animal life thrives in these habitats, what factors are key to their survival and growth, and how they may be impacted by various human activities – from trawling and pollution to climate change.We work with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to focus on studies in key deep sea habitats and provide up-to-date information useful for their stewardship of deep-sea resources. Know Your OceanRevealing the secrets of Sur RidgeMBARI researchers are leveraging groundbreaking technologies to shed new light on Sur Ridge, a large rocky ridge that is a hotspot for marine life. Team Directory James Barry Senior Scientist & Benthic Ecologist Primary Investigator Fanny Girard Postdoctoral Fellow Steve Litvin Senior Research Specialist Chris Lovera Research Specialist Sebastian Sudek Research Specialist Projects All Projects Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Community Studies Project Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Community Studies Studies of deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems at Sur Ridge and Davidson Seamount focus on oceanographic and biological factors influencing their diversity and abundance. Octopus Garden Project Octopus Garden MBARI research and technology have revealed that thermal springs at the base of Davidson Seamount are an important nursery for the deep-sea pearl octopus (Muusoctopus robustus). Understanding the Effects of a Changing Ocean Project Understanding the Effects of a Changing Ocean Focusing on how marine animals will respond to shifting ocean conditions caused by climate change and other human activities. Lost Shipping Container Studies Project Lost Shipping Container Studies An estimated 10,000 shipping containers fall from ships each year, ultimately sinking to the seafloor where their ecological effects are largely unknown. Publications All Publications Barry, J.P., S.Y. Litvin, A. DeVogelaere, D.W. Caress, C.F. Lovera, A.S. Kahn, E.J. Burton, C. King, J.B. Paduan, C.G. Wheat, F. Girard, S. Sudek, A.M. Hartwell, A.D. Sherman, P.R. McGill, A. Schnittger, J.R. Voight, and E.J. Martin. 2023. Abyssal hydrothermal springs—Cryptic incubators for brooding octopus. Science Advances, 9(34): 1–13. science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adg3247 LaScala-Grunewald, D., N.H.N. Low, J.P. Barry, J.A. Brown, C. King, F.P. Chavez, and H.A. Ruhl. 2022. Building on a human-centred, iterative, and agile co-design strategy to facilitate the availability of deep ocean data. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2022 (fsac145): 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsac145 Montseny, M., C. Linares, M. Carreiro-Silva, L.A. Henry, D. Billett, E.E. Cordes, C.J. Smith, N. Papadopoulou, M. Bilan, F. Girard, H.L. Burdett, A. Larsson, S. Strömberg, N. Viladrich, J.P. Barry, P. Baena, A. Godinho, J. Grinyó, A. Santín, T. Morato, A.K. Sweetman, J.M. Gili, and A. Gori. 2021. Active ecological restoration of cold-water corals: techniques, challenges, costs, and future directions. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8: 1–21. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.621151 Maier, K.L., K.J. Rosenberger, C.K. Paull, R. Gwiazda, J. Gales, T. Lorenson, J.P. Barry, P.J. Talling, M. McGann, J. Xu, E. Lundsten, K. Anderson, S.Y. Litvin, D.R. Parsons, M.A. Clare, S.M. Simmons, E.J. Sumner, and M.J.B. Cartigny. 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(103108). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2019.103108 Stark, J. S., E.T. Peltzer, D.I. Kline, A.M. Queiros, E.T. Cox, K. Headley, J. Barry, F. Gazeau, J.W. Runcie, S. Widdicombe, M. Milnes, N.P. Roden, J. Black, S. Whiteside, G. Johnstone, J. Ingels, E. Shaw, L. Bodrossy, J.D. Gaitan-Espitia, W. Kirkwood, and J.P. Gattuso. 2019. Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments: Scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects. Progress in Oceanography, 172: 89–107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2019.01.006 Latest News All News News MBARI technology featured in an episode of BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s landmark series Behind the Scenes 11.16.23 News Scientists solve mystery of why thousands of octopus migrate to deep-sea thermal springs Press Release 08.23.23 News MBARI and Monterey Bay Aquarium bring the deep sea to land with new exhibition News 04.12.22 Technologies All Technologies Vehicle, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) ROV Doc Ricketts Technology ROV Doc Ricketts An integrated unmanned submersible research platform with features providing efficient, reliable, and precise sampling and data collection. Instrument Benthic Respirometer System (BRS) Technology Benthic Respirometer System (BRS) This system measures the oxygen consumption of organisms living in the sediment. Instrument Free-OceanCarbon Enrichment (FOCE) system Technology Free-OceanCarbon Enrichment (FOCE) system An experiment designed to study the effects of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater on marine animals. Data All Data Sorry, no results were found.