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Date: June 28, 2012

Ocean Engineer Heads UVic's World-Leading Ocean Observatory Initiative

The oceans are changing so fast that it is vital that scientists and governments around the globe work together to better understand them, says the new head of the University of Victoria organization that manages the world-leading VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada subsea networks.

“There’s much we don’t know yet about the oceans, which are home to over 90 per cent of life on the planet,” says Dr. Kate Moran. “What we do know is that massive changes like what we’re beginning to see have previously caused mass extinctions.”

Moran, an internationally renowned ocean engineer, takes over as president and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) for a five-year term on July 1. She replaces founding president and CEO Dr. Martin Taylor, who retires on June 30.

ONC is a non-profit agency created by UVic in 2007 to develop and manage the Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) Observatory, made up of the VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada networks. The observatory uses innovative engineering, data communication and sensor technologies to gather real-time data and images from the ocean depths. ONC also manages the ONC Centre for Enterprise and Engagement, which promotes commercialization and outreach opportunities arising from observatory research.

“I feel privileged to take the helm of a new generation of ocean observing systems,” says Moran of her new role. “It’s crucial that we monitor the oceans continuously so that we can expand our understanding of the immense changes that are occurring on the planet today.”

“We’re delighted to have someone with Kate’s experience and international reputation take over the leadership of ONC,” says Dr. Andrew Bjerring, chair of ONC’s board of directors. “Kate’s energy, expertise and deep passion for the oceans will provide strong guidance in the years to come as our world-leading observatory continues to evolve.”

“We’re tremendously proud of the ONC Observatory and everything that has been accomplished in the past decade,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research. “Through ONC, UVic is now a global leader in the science and technology of ocean observation systems. In her new role, Kate will be instrumental in advancing the economic, public policy and educational opportunities arising from observatory research.”

Moran joined UVic in September 2011 as director of the NEPTUNE Canada ocean network. Prior to that she was assistant director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC, where she advised on issues related to the oceans, the Arctic and global warming.

Moran holds degrees in marine science and engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Rhode Island and Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on marine geotechnics and its application to the study of paleoceanography, tectonics and seafloor stability. She has authored more than 45 publications.

Moran has led several major oceanographic expeditions, including the first drilling expedition to the Arctic Ocean in 2004 and the first expedition to find the source of the earthquake that caused the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She has also made major contributions to the assessment of hazards in Canada’s offshore regions.

Media contacts:

Leslie Elliott (NEPTUNE Canada) at 250-516-1246 or elliottl@uvic.ca
Virginia Keast ONC) at 250-216-7510 or vkeast@uvic.ca
Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

Note: Photos of Dr. Moran are available on request.

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(image: fern)