Ocean science and technology

Two people in the Arctic
UVic finds strength in research partnerships in all three of Canada's oceans. In the Arctic, community collaborators provide local expertise and Inuit knowledge to guide sea ice research facilitated by Maia Hoeberechts (right) of UVic's Ocean Networks Canada.

Nurturing ocean health

The ocean covers 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface and is vital to our planetary life support system. Yet our activities are affecting the ocean at an ever-increasing pace. Understanding these changes is critical for the future of the planet—and us.

How do ocean processes work? How do they interact to influence the diversity and abundance of ocean life? What drives the complex relationship between ocean and climate? How can we manage our ocean-based activities in a more sustainable way? And can the ocean help us meet our energy needs? University of Victoria researchers are leading the charge to answer these questions and more.

Our research strengths in ocean observing, climate modelling, ocean chemistry and physics, and marine ecology combine to explore how climate-forced changes are affecting marine ecosystems, and to determine how the effects of these changes can be managed to support ocean sustainability.

We're uniquely positioned for this work, with a network of internationally recognized oceans, climate, and community-engaged researchers supported by the on-campus expertise of UVic's Ocean Networks Canada and the federal Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis.

UVic's edge in ocean health research

Ocean Networks Canada

Octopus

The flagship for ocean science and technology at UVic is Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a world-leading research facility created in 2007 to build and sustain Canada’s leadership in ocean observing systems.

ONC operates ocean observatories off the British Columbia coast and in the Arctic. The NEPTUNE and VENUS observatories off BC supply Internet connectivity to a suite of subsea instruments from the coast to the deep sea. A community observatory in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, collects near real-time data on temperature, oxygen, salinity, underwater noise, sea ice and weather conditions.

Through its advanced Oceans 2.0 data management software, ONC is continuously taking the ocean’s pulse and vital signs. More than 280 gigabytes of data are processed every day, allowing rapid analysis of information on the physical, chemical, biological and geological aspects of the ocean over long periods of time.

ONC’s Smart Ocean Systems™ program—involving observing stations along the BC coast—commercializes innovative ocean observation technologies for the benefit of Canada and the world. It’s enabling communities and policy-makers to make informed decisions on sustainable use of the oceans, marine safety, earthquake and tsunami response planning, and environmental protection.

The ONC Innovation Centre is responsible for bringing advanced technologies developed for ONC observatories to world markets.

Our depth in oceans research

With our location at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, it's no surprise that more than 100 UVic researchers across many academic disciplines work in ocean and climate science, technology and policy. 

Biodiversity and ecosystems researchers work to understand ocean biology responses to climate change, including changes in ocean productivity, ecology and species. Others work in coastal resilience - partnering with coastal communities to study ecosystem and fisheries management and food security.

Explore the depths of our oceans research:

Connecting on climate

Hands pointing at projected data

UVic's on-campus expertise in climate modelling, analysis, mitigation and adaptation gives us an edge in research on the complex interplay between ocean and atmospheric health.

UVic hosts the federal Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma), an internationally recognized climate modelling laboratory. The Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre (W-CIRC), a joint initiative of UVic and the federal government, conducts research on the impact of climate change on Canadian water resources, particularly in the Arctic.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), led and hosted by UVic, was created in 2008 with an endowment from the BC Ministry of Environment. PICS engages researchers from BC’s four research-intensive universities, policy-makers, entrepreneurs and communities to find solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), a not-for-profit corporation hosted by UVic, provides science-based information on the impacts of climate change and variability for use by policy-makers in government, industry, communities and other stakeholder groups.

Featured videos

See more videos from the Ocean science and technology playlist on YouTube.

Featured news stories

feed

Canada's sea levels are rising

CBC News

feed

Nautical maps from century ago help BC researchers chart kelp

National Post

feed

How flipping crabs revealed a hidden food supply

Globe & Mail

feed

Grieving orca highlights plight of endangered whales

AP News

See more stories about oceans research at UVic on UVic News.

Partner with us

Contact us to get started or explore partnering opportunities with Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization.