Seafloor Mapping
R/V Zephyr and AUV D. Allan B.
10 July - 13 August 2011

In addition to the research vessel Western Flyer, MBARI's R/V Zephyr—the primary support ship for MBARI's autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) program—will also be making the journey up the Pacific coast. Along the way, MBARI's AUV team will be deploying the mapping AUV, D. Allan B., in order to collect mapping data that will be used to direct the research teams' ROV diving and sampling programs. Detailed images from MBARI’s AUV high-resolution surveys help scientists understand seafloor vents, geologic evolution, and geochemical history of the dynamic seafloor structures. Learn more.

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are robotic submarines that are programmed at the surface, then move through the water on their own, recording data, taking photographs, or collecting water samples as they go. MBARI began developing AUVs to reduce the cost and labor involved in monitoring the ocean. MBARI has three modular AUVs. One is used for water sampling and monitoring, a second is used for mapping the seafloor, and a third is used to take photographs of the ocean bottom. These vehicles range from about 10 to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1000 kilograms (one ton).

R/V Zephyr

Aaron Gregg


Jim Boedecker
Chief Engineer


Perry Shoemake
First Mate


AUV Team

Dave Caress
Chief Scientist/
Software Engineer


Hans Thomas
AUV Group Leader


Doug Conlin
AUV Specialist


Duane Thompson
AUV Specialist