Canada’s Internet-Connected Ocean

TitleCanada’s Internet-Connected Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsMoran, K, S. Juniper, K, Bligh, S, Loock, D, Kulin, I, Paulson, M, Pirenne, B
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
ISBN Number2296-7745

Over fifteen years ago, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) began with the world’s first large-scale, interactive, real-time portal into the ocean, bringing continuous, real-time data to the surface for applications in scientific research, societal benefits, and supporting Canada’s ocean industry. This marked the dawn of the Internet-connected ocean, enabling a more fulsome understanding of the ocean through ocean intelligence. These open data have improved our ability to monitor and understand our changing ocean offshore all three coasts of Canada, thanks to diversity of sensor systems to monitor earthquakes and tsunamis, deep sea biodiversity, whales, hydrothermal vents, neutrinos, ocean noise, ocean acidification, forensics experiments, and the impact of climate change, including sea ice thinning in the Arctic. This pioneering approach began in the late 1990s, when scientists began developing a new way of doing ocean science that was no longer limited by weather and ship-time. They imagined a permanent presence in the ocean of sensors to allow a continuous flow of ocean data via the Internet. This big science began to take shape early this century, when a partnership between United States and Canadian institutions was established. ONC evolved out of this international collaboration with seed funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, while in the United States, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) was funded. ONC works closely with OOI on that span the countries’ west coast border. Recently similar observing initiatives in Europe have begun, led by EMSO, which now has a close collaboration with ONC as an Associate Member.