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Date: August 16, 2005

UVic Expands Ocean Research With Funding
from Federal Government

Today, the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister for Western Economic Diversification Canada and Minister of State (Sport) announced $1.8 million in funding to support six University of Victoria projects related to oceans research and technology. The University of Victoria is recognized internationally for its excellence in earth, ocean, and atmospheric systems research and education. It is the lead institution in the NEPTUNE Canada project, the northern component of a major international initiative to build a high-tech scientific observatory on the Juan de Fuca plate in the north-west Pacific.

“The funding to NEPTUNE Canada increases the capacity of the project to transform our understanding of our ocean,” said Dr. Martin Taylor, University of Victoria’s Vice-President, Research. “The support for our Centre for Applied Remote Sensing, Modeling and Simulation allows us to create a unique airborne platform with a wide range of vital environmental management applications.”

The six projects are:

1. Airborne Hyperspectral Spectroradiometer: $900,000
Funding has enabled the university to purchase an Airborne Hyperspectral Imager. The imager can be used to expand remote researching capabilities in environmental and resource management, study coastal and marine water characteristics, and study the severity of pine beetle infestation in remote areas. It can also be used for other applications such as oil and gas exploration, erosion studies and agriculture management. (See attached backgrounder on the Centre for Applied Remote Sensing, Modeling and Simulation).

2 & 3. Centre for Applied Remote Sensing, Modeling and Simulation: $368,000
Support allowed the Centre to develop a business plan and marketing strategy and purchase remote sensing equipment. Two hyperspectral field scanners have been purchased to assist in the completion of several research initiatives. Additional funding of $170,000 was provided through the B.C. Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. (See attached backgrounder on the Centre for Applied Remote Sensing, Modeling and Simulation).

4. Ocean Science Development Centre: $298,400
Funding has assisted in the establishment of the Ocean Science Development Centre, located in the Technology Enterprise Facility at the University of Victoria. The Centre houses the management of the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) and Canadian management of the North East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE). These projects are related to the establishment of undersea infrastructure and data management to support ocean and geological research. The centre will also include the Centre for Earth and Ocean Research.

5. North East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE): $200,000
The money has enabled the University of Victoria to purchase equipment for the NEPTUNE project. The NEPTUNE cable network will feature 30 or more seafloor “laboratories” spaced approximately 100 km apart. From these laboratories, land-based scientists will control and monitor sampling instruments, video cameras and remotely operated vehicles to collect data from the ocean surface to under the seafloor. Instruments will be interactive—scientists will instruct them to respond to events such as storms, fish migrations, earthquakes, tsunamis and underwater volcanic eruptions as they happen. NEPTUNE will expand the boundaries of ocean exploration and provide a new way of studying and understanding the planet. NEPTUNE is a joint Canada - U.S. venture led by the University of Victoria and the University of Washington.

6. Canadian Ocean Information Network: $60,000
This financial backing will help the University of Victoria develop a business plan and establish a new not-for-profit society called the Canadian Ocean Information Network Pacific Partnerships Office. The network will advance the interests of B.C.’s ocean technology stakeholders, and serve as a network hub for ocean information and technology users in western Canada.
Media contacts:
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-6139 or lironim@uvic.ca
Susan Schooley (Manager, Communication, Western Economic Diversification Canada) at (604) 666-1318
Renée Gillen (Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Western Economic Diversification Canada and Minister of State (Sport)) at (613) 954-1110

Ocean Research at the University of Victoria

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