UVic Scientists Tackle Climate-Ocean Issues At National Congress

What are ocean dead zones, why are they increasing worldwide, and how might they affect BC’s fisheries?

The news media is invited to find out more about ocean dead zones—scientifically known as ocean hypoxia—at a special Ocean Hypoxia Town Hall on June 8 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Esquimalt Room of the Victoria Conference Centre.

The event, co-chaired by University of Victoria scientists, is part of the 2011 Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), which takes place in Victoria,
June 5-9.

Many UVic faculty and graduate students are presenting papers at the congress, which is the major forum in Canada for the latest research in ocean, atmospheric and climate science in Canada. Some 500 delegates from universities and federal agencies will attend.

UVic marine ecologist Dr. Kim Juniper will open the town hall event with a lay summary of the current science on ocean dead zones. The news media will then be invited to ask questions to a panel of three experts.

“Scientists and fisheries managers are worried about the expansion of huge, naturally occurring ‘oxygen minimum zones’ found below the surface in much of the North Pacific,” says Juniper. “How long will it be before this affects coastal waters off British Columbia? Will we see massive summer-time fish and crab kills like those that have occurred off Oregon several times over the past decade?”

Also at the congress, two UVic researchers are presenting free public lectures:

  • On June 7, Dr. Ken Denman, chief scientist for the VENUS coastal network, presents “The North Pacific: An Ocean in Transition.” He’ll talk about how climate and the North Pacific are changing in response to human activities, and how marine ecosystems might respond and adapt.
  • On June 9, Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe, an internationally renowned marine biologist, director of the VENUS coastal network, and the Canada Research Chair in Deep Oceans, presents “Exploring Ocean Frontiers.” She’ll use imagery from research voyages into the deep ocean to convey the extraordinary beauty, complexity and vulnerability of this remote realm.

Both lectures start at 7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre at the Victoria Conference Centre.

UVic is a national and international leader in the study of climate and the oceans. Among the areas of expertise represented at this congress are: ocean-climate interaction; climate change; physical, biological and chemical oceanography; ocean monitoring systems; and climate modelling.

For more information on the CMOS Congress visit www.cmos.ca/congress2011/en/index.html.

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Media contacts

Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at vshore@uvic.ca

June Pitts (UVic Communications) at ppitts@uvic.ca

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Keywords: climate change, oceans, research

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