Instruments

Until recently, studying the ocean required you to be there, and the difficulty in getting out, on, and under the ocean has been a formidable barrier to understanding how the ocean influences the world in which we live. For example, over the past 150 years, the primary mode for studying the oceans was through expensive ship-based expeditions. Ships, packed with supplies and scientific equipment for trips ranging from days to years, would carry humans to the environment of interest to measure, study, and take samples. Samples could undergo rudimentary analysis onboard, but for more extensive biological or chemical analyses, samples had to be returned to a shore-based laboratory.

At MBARI, we develop technology that challenges this paradigm of ‘send people to the sea, bring samples back for analysis’. This section describes some of the current and emerging tools we design and use to create a persistent presence in the worlds oceans. After being deployed, these instruments and platforms do their analytical job and simply return results and/or data to shore. Instruments capable of this are able to remain on site for long periods, giving scientists a better view of ocean changes over week to months, and save the considerable costs of sending out ships for repeated sampling.

This idea of taking the laboratory into the field is not without it’s challenges, given the corrosive, cold (usually), dark, and energetic (waves and wind) environment we are trying to study. However, the benefits of persistent measurements make the difficulties worth solving; putting instruments into the sea is a challenge that MBARI embraces.

Technology

Solving challenges
Taking the laboratory into the ocean
In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer
Midwater Respirometer System
Mobile flow cytometer
Enabling targeted sampling
Automated Video Event Detection
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Advancing a persistent presence
Aerostat hotspot
Benthic event detectors
Benthic rover
Fault Prognostication
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Marine “soundscape” for passive acoustic monitoring
Monterey Ocean-Bottom Broadband Seismometer
Shark Café camera
Vehicle Persistence
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
Emerging and current tools
Communications
Aerostat hotspot
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
Data management
Oceanographic Decision Support System
Spatial Temporal Oceanographic Query System (STOQS) Data
Video Annotation and Reference System
Instruments
Apex profiling floats
Benthic event detectors
Deep particle image velocimetry
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
How the ESP Works
Genomic sensors
ESP Web Portal
The ESP in the news
Investigations of imaging for midwater autonomous platforms
Lagrangian sediment traps
Laser Raman Spectroscopy
Midwater Respirometer System
Mobile flow cytometer
Smart underwater connector
Power
Wave-Power Buoy
Vehicle technology
Benthic Rover
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Imaging autonomous underwater vehicle
In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer
Seafloor mapping AUV
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Mini remotely operated vehicle
ROV Doc Ricketts
ROV Ventana
Video
Automated Video Event Detection
Deep learning
SeeStar Imaging System
Shark Café camera
Video Annotation and Reference System
Technology publications
Technology transfer