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CANARIE HELPS TAKE STUDENTS TO THE OCEAN FLOOR

Posted
on February 28, 2012

CANARIE-funded web portal lets students watch live feeds from cameras on the ocean floor and engage with real-time research data.


[Ottawa, Ontario | February 28, 2012] CANARIE, Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, today spread the word that students – and the general public – can delve hundreds or thousands of metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, using a technically sophisticated web portal that brings the magic of marine life to the desktop.

Oceans 2.0 is a CANARIE-funded Web-based environment where observers, including scientists and students, gain real-time and historical access to data from a broad range of instruments located on the sea floor. Data from these instruments, part of the VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada underwater networks, are transmitted via BCNET, the advanced network in British Columbia, and the CANARIE national network.

CANARIE operates Canada’s ultra-high speed network, thousands of times faster than the Internet, which enables world-class research and discovery at universities, colleges, research hospitals, government labs and private sector research facilities across the country, as well as many K-12 schools. CANARIE also funds the development of software, like the Oceans 2.0 platform, that enables wider access to research data and tools.

Most recently, additions to these instruments were installed on the sea floor just off the campus of Brentwood College School in Mill Bay, BC. These instruments support the VENUS array of nodes that exist in the Saanich Inlet and Strait of Georgia. A similar set of nodes make up the NEPTUNE array that also provides seismic information off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The two networks make up the Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) Observatory led by the University of Victoria. Brentwood College School students received hands-on training from the researchers on the project.

“Students from Brentwood, as well as anyone across the globe, will be able to access and analyse this information. Adding greatly to the experience is a camera which can be controlled by some users, such as BCS teachers,” noted Mr. David McCarthy, Director of Studies at Brentwood College School. “With our oceans under threat from many directions, a greater appreciation of, and interaction with, what lies below the surface may be just what we need to raise awareness of these pressing environmental issues.”

A portion of the research data gathered from the undersea instruments is archived and incorporated into the educational “crowd-sourcing” website called “Digital Fishers” (www.digitalfishers.net) where observers can “tag” organisms they identify from the video clips. In a game-like environment, users can move through the levels to collect points and rewards by developing their knowledge of species and their interactions.

“Providing students and citizens with real-time access to research data is another way we are extending the reach of CANARIE and leveraging Canada’s investment in this fundamental digital infrastructure,” says Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE.

CANARIE’s network and funding leverage the government’s investment in the VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada ocean observatories by greatly expanding access to data that helps researchers understand and protect our oceans.

“Building on its previous invaluable investments in Ocean Networks Canada, CANARIE’s support of this initiative is especially exciting as it brings the transformative power of the ocean technology developed by VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada into the classroom…fostering ocean literacy in a new generation,” says Martin Taylor, President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada.

CANARIE receives funding from the Government of Canada in five-year mandates and is currently working towards renewal of its mandate in the 2012 budget. The mandate renewal section (www.canarie.ca/en/renewal) of the CANARIE website provides more detailed information on CANARIE’s renewal proposal, as well as information and tools for stakeholders wishing to send messages of support to government decision-makers involved in the renewal process.

Jim Roche, CANARIE’s President and CEO, recently joined the Board of Ocean Networks Canada. Visit the NEPTUNE website to see how you can take a look at the ocean floor.

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In Canada, “In 2006 alone, the economic contribution by the [aquaculture] industry to the economy (or “gross value added”) reached $395.8 million, up 58.4% from 2005.” – Fisheries & Oceans Canada

An estimated 50-80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface and the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet. Less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans. 85% of the area and 90% of the volume constitute the dark, cold environment we call the deep sea. The average depth of the ocean is 3,795 m. The average height of the land is 840 m. (marinebio.org/marinebio/facts)

Biological productivity of the oceans plays a vital role in the global climate and carbon cycle, and provides nearly 50 percent of Earth’s oxygen and 20 percent of the world’s protein supply. (www.whoi.edu)

For more information, please contact:

Wynn Anne Sibbald
Communications Manager
CANARIE
(613) 943-5432
WynnAnne.Sibbald@canarie.ca

About CANARIE:

CANARIE Inc. is Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network. Established in 1993, CANARIE manages an ultra high-speed network that supports leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at over 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network. Together with 12 provincial and territorial advanced network partners, CANARIE enables researchers to share and analyze massive amounts of data, like climate models, satellite images, and DNA sequences that can lead to groundbreaking scientific discoveries. CANARIE is a non-profit corporation supported by membership fees, with the major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.

CANARIE keeps Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation, fundamental to a vibrant digital economy. For additional information, please visit: www.canarie.ca

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