At the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) scientists and engineers collaborate
on a wide range of cutting-edge marine research projects enabled by innovative
technology. Some MBARI scientists study deep-sea animals, ocean chemistry, and
seafloor geology. Others study ocean currents and their effects on microscopic
marine life, fisheries, and global climate. The Institute's engineers design
undersea robots and high-tech instruments that give researchers new ways of looking
at the ocean.
MBARI maintains science, engineering, and operations facilities in Moss Landing, California,
in the heart of Monterey Bay. The bay is one of the most biologically diverse bodies of
waters in the world, and the underlying submarine canyon—part of the complex geology of
the continental plate margin—is one of the deepest underwater canyons along the
continental United States. With a "laboratory" up to 4,000 meters deep only a few
ship-hours from their base of operations, institute scientists conduct research
relevant to much of Earth's water-covered realm.
The "Mission to the Deep" exhibit allows visitors to sample some of this research,
and to try out some of the technological tools that MBARI's researchers use.
The midwaters of the ocean, from 500 to 15,000 feet down, are the largest habitat on earth.
They are inhabited by bizarre deep-sea creatures that live in total darkness, such as
vampire squids, giant deep-sea jellies and spookfish.
MBARI geologists use remotely operated vehicles to collect sediment samples on the
seafloor. This is helping them learn how a “river of sand” has played a role in
carving the Monterey Submarine Canyon.
By studying and photographing the seafloor over time, MBARI scientists have
learned that deep-sea animals are affected by seasonal changes and long-term
climate cycles just like animals in shallower water.
An ultra-sensitive seismometer buried in the seafloor 20 miles offshore of Monterey Bay
has helped geologists study local and distant earthquakes and understand more about the
geology of the Central California coast.