This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the University of Victoria. To celebrate a half-century of achievements and shared experiences, the University has compiled a collection of Great Moments, viewed through the memories of people intimately connected to the campus.
Included in these milestones are the very beginnings of VENUS: the Victoria Experimental Network under the Sea.
With thanks to Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe, Canada Research Chair in Deep Oceans, Professor of Biology and Director, VENUS, for her reflections on how world-changing ideas can be born from a shared vision...
From a tremor to “the big idea” in ocean science
Many Victoria residents remember Feb. 28, 2001 for the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that rattled nerves in the region. But as the ground shook, dozens of earth and ocean scientists were assembled in Saanich to discuss the vision of an around-the-clock cabled, internet-accessible ocean observatory.
Galvanized by the tremor, marine scientists—minus the geophysicists who had raced for their seismic data—sketched out a wish list of real-time ocean technologies required to support interactive experiments by researchers across Canada.
Meanwhile, the astrophysicists pondered the design of a web-based marine data “warehouse.” Within a few months, University of Victoria participants had submitted funding proposals to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) coastal network was born.
VENUS and the subsequent NEPTUNE Canada regional ocean network—which together make up Ocean Networks Canada—have made UVic a world leader in ocean observation science and engineering.
Using innovative engineering, data communication and sensor technologies, the observatory allows all of us—researchers, educators, policy-makers and armchair ocean explorers, no matter where we live—to enter the Pacific Ocean at the click of a mouse.