Ocean Sciences

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Archipelago develops and implements CCTV-based monitoring and review solutions... see more

    Source: BCIC

    Tech innovations are changing how we live and work in every sector of the economy. #BCTECH Transformations profiles BC companies that provide technology that is helping natural resource industries increase their productivity and competitiveness. Part 3 of the series looks at how Victoria’s Archipelago Marine Research is a major part of a transforming commercial fisheries industry. 

    Whether you’ve enjoyed the water off British Columbia’s south coast or dined at an area restaurant, you have felt the benefits of Archipelago Marine Research. Through a commitment to fisheries, coastal communities and industry regulators, Archipelago assists multiple facets of the commercial fisheries industry.

    Archipelago develops and implements CCTV-based monitoring and review solutions for commercial fishing fleets. The company’s deep understanding of electronic monitoring software and hardware enables them to provide fishers and industry regulators with quality, customized insight. Once installed, Archipelago’s onboard monitoring system can help reviewers verify fishing times and locations, identify size and species of catch, and display fishing activity in real time. Archipelago also trains and certifies fisheries observers for at-sea and dockside monitoring.

    The past

    “Fishermen don’t like having someone or something looking over their shoulder,” says CEO Shawn Stebbins.

    Due to this feeling, fishers were not always willing to consider efficiency tools. Trip decisions were made on a hunch and without the proper data and analytics. Commercial fishing is also an industry that is at the whim of the weather; this means that fishers need to make the most out of opportune days. So, they’re warming to the idea of using monitoring and review technology to improve their expeditions.

    The future

    “The importance and value of having quality datasets and preparation is really being seen,” says Stebbins.

    In addition to the value observers and electronic monitoring solutions have had on the industry, Archipelago has facilitated a focus on environmentalism. The organization works alongside other industries who share space with marine land to ensure environmental factors are accounted for. They’re also fierce advocates for sustainable fishing.

    “This focus has extended from fishermen to restaurants to consumer,” says Stebbins. “There’s a desire to do things better and more sustainably than in the past.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Aquarium teams up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the research project. see more

    Source: Vancouver Sun
    Author: Larry Pynn

    VANCOUVER — An experimental project using a customized drone to monitor killer whales on B.C.’s north coast has been expanded to include the endangered southern resident population shared with the U.S. in the Salish Sea.

    The Vancouver Aquarium announced Wednesday it has teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the research project.

    The hexacopter drone weights just over one kilogram, has six motors and six propellers for stability and redundancy, and uses a pressure altimeter and high-resolution camera to determine the width and length of whales.

    The results are used to estimate the health and condition of whales, including potential pregnancies, as well as population numbers in relationship with the success of salmon runs.

    Both resident populations of killer whales on the B.C. coast prefer chinook salmon.

    NOAA researcher John Durban explained during a news conference at the aquarium that the drone — flying 30 metres above the whales — can make calculations accurate to a few centimetres. “We can get very precise measurements,” he said.

    The project started in 2014 with the drone flying about 13 hours and 80 kilometres documenting northern resident killer whales on B.C.’s north coast.

    This year, the flying effort increased to about 24 hours and 150 kilometres with northern residents, and 23 hours and 150 kilometres with southern residents.

    The plan is to fly two three-week periods with the southern residents and one three-week period with the northern residents in 2016.

    “When you look at them from above, you see they’re spending most of their time swimming so close together they could touch,” said Lance Barrett-Lennard, the aquarium's whale researcher.

    “This is something they want to do, how they maintain social bonds. It makes them look very fragile, in a way. When you see them in that kind of proximity for reassurance and contact, they cease to be these great big black-and-white things that can eat anything in the ocean to being these fragile animals we really do have to care for.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Irvine will present real-time ocean interactions to the Giant Screen Cinema Association in San Fran. see more

    VICTORIA, BC, September 2, 2015 — On Sept 9th, 2015, Victoria's Mike Irvine will present real-time ocean interactions to the Giant Screen Cinema Association in San Francisco. A unique cinematic experience titled Beneath the Waves, will allow theatergoers to see, hear, talk, and share with divers LIVE as they explore the ocean. All without ever getting wet.

    A recent graduate from the University of Victoria, Irvine became the first person to defend his thesis live from underwater in front of thousands people from over 10 countries on April 20th, 2015. "The ocean is a spectacular world that we hardly know anything of and it is my life's goal to bridge that gap through real-time interactions," Irvine says.

    Co-founders of the Fish Eye Project, Mike Irvine and Maeva Gauthier have partnered with Tim Archer of Masters Digital to provide this unique experience. "This a new experience for our audiences and we are excited to be working with the Fish Eye Project," Paul Wild, IMAX Victoria Theatre Director.

    The Fish Eye Project will also be presenting a Live Dive on the IMAX screen on September 17th for Experience Tectoria, a 2-day gathering of local entrepreneurs with international investors, thought-shapers and advisors.

    Fish Eye Project has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to assist with the registration costs and transportation to present at the Giant Screen Cinema Association Conference. "We are appealing to our supporters, friends, family, and the generosity of people who care about our ocean and would like to see them live on the giant screens," said Maeva. Team Fish Eye is calling on everyone to share the crowdfunding campaign on their own social media platforms and spread the word far and wide. http://bit.ly/1NXQ4OT

    About the Fish Eye Project

    Our goal at Fish Eye Project is to connect people to the world’s ocean in an entertaining, engaging, and educational way through interactive Live Dives. Inspired by a love for the ocean, Team Fish Eye is a group of ocean enthusiasts with experience in education, marine exploration and science, civic engagement, technology and event planning. To date, Fish Eye Project has reached thousands of online viewers in over 100 countries! www.fisheyeproject.org



    Media contact: Maeva Gauthier
    Tel: 250-208-5924
    Email: maeva@fisheyeproject.org

  • Martin Taylor posted an article
    The Nautilus, owned by Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust, sets out from Victoria today. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Jeff Bell

    The man credited with finding the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 is providing his research vessel for an expedition to benefit the renowned underwater laboratory systems run by University of Victoria -based Ocean Networks Canada.

    Robert Ballard knows ONC president Kate Moran from their days together at the University of Rhode Island, so he was happy to have the ship Nautilus, with all of its specialized equipment, put to good use by his friend. He said he will keep a close eye on the trip from his computers at home in Connecticut.

    The Nautilus, owned by Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust, sets out from Victoria today and will soon join up with another research vessel, the Thomas G. Thompson, from the University of Washington. Both have robotic vehicles that can transmit real-time video from deep in the ocean, and both will be involved in servicing ONC’s two main systems — NEPTUNE and VENUS.

    NEPTUNE extends into the Pacific Ocean and VENUS goes from Saanich Inlet into the Salish Sea, while another system has also been established in the Arctic. VENUS was established in 2006, NEPTUNE in 2009 and the Arctic system in 2012.

    All of the systems are made up of arrays of cables that connect equipment able to compile data with application to fisheries, marine traffic, earthquakes, tsunamis and more.

    More than $200 million has gone into the project, much of it from the federal government. Funding has also come from the provincial government and a number of other sources.

    Ballard won’t be on the ONC voyage, but was on the Nautilus on Monday talking about the work his ship can do. He said that even with the tasks to be done by ONC, Nautilus has other things to accomplish, as well.

    “We’re always exploring,” he said from the ship’s studio area, complete with monitors that comb ocean activity. “When we do it we’re running this ship like the emergency room of a hospital. We have no idea what’s going to come before our cameras.”

    If something is seen, perhaps an undersea mountain range that could be a new find, a network of scientists can be informed, Ballard said.

    “The point is that we can reach out anywhere.”

    Bringing in organizations such as ONC is also a priority, he said.

    “Kate will be flanked by teachers and educators,” Ballard said. “We bring out a huge number of scientists, students, all levels of the educational system.”

    Moran said the effort to maintain and examine NEPTUNE and VENUS has to happen on a regular basis.

    “Unlike space exploration, it’s really hard to keep sensors in the ocean,” she said. “It’s just because it’s high pressure, a wide range of temperature and we’re in a corrosive environment.”

    She said the robotic vehicle on the Nautilus, known as Hercules, has arms that can be manipulated from the surface to do a variety of tasks. She said scientists from around the world can be contacted to offer advice for the precise moves that Hercules will make.

    Having the use of Ballard’s Nautilus, one of only two such ships in the world, is “fantastic,” Moran said.

    “He’s specially built this for exactly what we do — connecting what we do on the sea floor with our scientific community.”

    The public can tune in during the voyage at nautilus.org or oceannetworks.ca, Moran said.