The Story of Ocean Networks Canada

The Story of Ocean Networks Canada


As we embark on our exploration of the vast
ocean, let’s consider how we can gather information about a place that is often deep, dark and
dangerous. Let’s find out how ocean observatories let
us visit this mysterious place. Ocean Networks Canada is a unique facility
in the world. And it’s unique because it is a place where we can measure the changes in
the ocean 24/7 in the Northeast Pacific and, what’s called here, the Salish Sea. Ocean Networks Canada operates NEPTUNE and
VENUS, 2 cabled observatories off the west coast of British Columbia. The observatories supply power and internet
connectivity to a broad suite of sub-sea instruments from the coast to the deep sea. They support research on complex ocean and
earth processes in ways not previously possible. So it’s very different from other kinds of
observatories, it’s not one instrument at one time in one place in the ocean it’s persistent
in a place where then the ocean changes over these instruments and we have instruments in the
water column, on the seafloor and beneath the seafloor to really understand that incredibly
connected system. These underwater labs are bringing us huge
volumes of data. What are researchers doing with all this information? Ocean Networks Canada has a pretty broad range
of science disciplines that are working on data and instruments from both NEPTUNE
Canada and VENUS and those are related to everything from earthquakes to tsunamis to
ecosystems. We are also studying marine mammals, we are
studying sounds in the ocean, we are studying wave energy and how that impacts things like
release of gas hydrates on the seafloor. It is one of the most diverse facilities of
its kind studying almost every aspect of the oceans and the seafloor beneath. We were not only here to support excellent
science, but we were also here to realize benefits for Canada. It relates to how it helps to stimulate commercial
opportunity and how the public can better understand what
we’re doing and how the science can inform their knowledge of the ocean. The role of the center is to help grow the
ocean technology sector in Canada and we do that through mechanisms like the technology
demonstration facility where we help develop new sensor technologies and also we help develop
new ocean observing systems both within Canada and internationally. One of the major accomplishments obviously
has been to build the system. There were many doubters, quite frankly, who
said this can’t be done. The fact that we’ve done it, the fact that
we’ve been operating now successfully with high reliability of most of those systems
for the last several years is a testimony obviously to what has been accomplished. We are so excited about the accomplishments
of Ocean Networks Canada but we have aspirations to see it grow even further. Already the world is coming to the University
of Victoria and Ocean Networks Canada to understand how observatories operate and we know that
people are interested in putting these observatories in virtually everywhere in the world. Today we had a chance to learn about ocean
observatories thanks to the team at Ocean Networks Canada and thanks to you for being
part of our ongoing explorations here at Ocean Alive!

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