Backgrounder: New Funding Propels UVic's World-Leading Ocean Observatory Into The Future

The 800-km NEPTUNE Canada regional network (the world’s largest) and the nearly 50-km VENUS coastal network—which together make up the ONC Observatory—stream live data from instruments at key sites off coastal BC via the Internet to scientists, policy-makers, educators and the public around the world.

Long-term observations by the ONC Observatory will have wide-ranging policy applications in the areas of ocean and climate change, earthquakes and tsunamis, pollution, port security and shipping, resource development, sovereignty and security, and ocean management.

The VENUS coastal network is giving us a better understanding of vital waterways such as the Strait of Georgia and Fraser River delta. VENUS is currently expanding its seafloor network, coastal radar and surface systems, including instrumentation on BC Ferries vessels. The new data will provide information for marine safety, search and rescue, and oil spill response.

Seismographs on the NEPTUNE Canada network are monitoring earthquake activity and stresses in the Earth’s crust—crucial information for emergency organizations and coastal residents.

Super-sensitive bottom pressure recorders on the NEPTUNE Canada network are part of one of the most precise real-time tsunami monitoring systems in the world.

Specialized underwater microphones, or hydrophones, on VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada are tracking the movements of marine mammals and giving us a better understanding of how human activity in busy inland waters is affecting marine wildlife such as endangered resident orcas.

Specialized sensors, cameras and remotely controlled sampling devices at NEPTUNE Canada’s Endeavour site are learning more about life forms unlike anything else found on Earth, such as organisms that thrive in the dark using energy from chemical reactions.

In fall 2012, ONC is installing a new mini-observatory at Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, which will help the local community, as well as researchers, better understand the rapidly changing sea ice and ocean conditions in the Arctic.

The ONC Observatory is building partnerships with academia and governments across Canada and around the world. ONC helps companies in the marine sector develop new products and services and gain entry points to new markets worldwide.

Ocean Networks Canada

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) is a not-for-profit society created in 2007 by the University of Victoria to develop and manage the ONC Observatory, to position Canada as an international leader in the science and technology of ocean observing systems, and to maximize associated economic and societal benefits through commercialization and outreach.

The ONC Centre for Enterprise and Engagement (ONCCEE) supports the ONC Observatory by providing ocean-observing expertise to industry, academia and governments across Canada and around the world. ONCCEE also offers Canadian marine technology companies commercialization expertise and the opportunity to demonstrate their sensors and instruments on a world-class ocean observatory.

For more information on the ONC Observatory, visit

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Keywords: funding, CFI, Ocean Networks Canada, oceans

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