The benthic elevator utilizes a combination of glass-sphere floats for buoyancy in ascents, and a drop-weight that could be released acoustically, or by an ROV, for initiating descents

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is a nonprofit research institution where scientists and engineers work together to explore and study the sea. Although they are separate organizations, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and MBARI were both set up through the generosity of the Packard family. MBARI's research provides material for the Aquarium's programs, exhibits, and educational programs. The Aquarium's exhibits, in turn, help MBARI share its research with the general public.

MBARI's laboratories and docks are located in Moss Landing, California, at the head of the Monterey Submarine Canyon, 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, MBARI researchers can study the deep ocean without having to travel far from shore.

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. MBARI engineers design undersea robots and high-tech instruments that give researchers new ways of looking at the ocean.

Learn more about MBARI on their website.