UVic’s Ocean Networks Canada heads to China for international partnerships

National News Science World

Ocean Networks Canada (previously called the ONC Centre for Enterprise and Engagement) is a world-leading national research facility, based at the University of Victoria, that specializes in deep-sea observation programs on the West Coast. Ocean Networks Canada has been developing advanced ocean technologies using VENUS, a coastal observatory located in the Salish Sea, and NEPTUNE, the world’s first regional ocean observatory with an extensive optic cable network lining the deep ocean bottom. The instruments from both of these programs have provided continuous real-time data from the deep coastal seafloor, obtained by a network of more than 800 kilometres of electro-optic cable. This data is made available on the Internet for all those who wish to participate in analyzing it, and the visual data has often been used by UVic biology laboratories as an educational resource.

With funding from the government of British Columbia, UVic’s Ocean Networks Canada is now visiting China on a 12-day trade mission to monitor the ocean environment of the Pacific Ocean.  Ocean Networks Canada’s mission started and was exhibited from Sept. 2–4 at Oceanology International China 2013, which is a conference and trade show for industry, academic community and government representatives worldwide to share their knowledge concerning marine technology. China hosted this year’s events, due to its increasing funding toward research projects on its coastline.

During the Oceanology International event, the Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre demonstrated British Columbia’s leading technology in marine science, along with other organizations from the province, such as Seamor Marine from Nanaimo, the Canadian Science Submersible Facility from Sidney, Rockland Scientific and ASL Environmental Sciences, International Submarine Engineering in Port Coquitlam, and ThinkSensor Research in West Vancouver.  Following the exhibition, Ocean Networks Canada scientists have planned to head to all major Chinese cities that have shown great interest in ocean science and its technology.

This is not the first connection between Ocean Networks Canada and Chinese scientists. The team at Ocean Networks Canada were paid a visit by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences on July 9, as part of their mission to the U.S. and Canadian West Coast. Ocean Networks Canada’s current technology, research ideas and data processing scheme were shown to guests, while the Chinese scientists presented their own plans for cabled ocean observatories in China. They will be installing a preliminary four-kilometre cable at Hainan Island’s coastal city Sanya, which will be followed by networking a 500 kilometre cable that starts from the South China Sea.

What Ocean Networks Canada expects to gain from this partnership is the opportunity to create efficient technology in cooperation with China for the long-term monitoring of the variable conditions of the deep sea.