Ocean Observatories

Arguably, the basis of all science is curiosity, observation and measurement. Being curious about the ocean is the easy part; all you have to do is wonder and ask! Observation and measurement, however, present a bit more of a challenge. Until recently, the only way to observe and measure the ocean was to go out to sea and collect data over short time periods using ship-based instruments. Now, technology-enabled, cabled ocean observatories, such as those used by Ocean Networks Canada, allow researchers to get information about the ocean on a continuing basis. 

The Cabled Observatory Advantage

Observatories allow researchers to leave their instruments in the water for long periods, sometimes a year or more. Further, when an instrument can be left in the water, it can create a much higher resolution of data, because it can measure more often. For example, some instruments can measure once a second, giving a second-by-second resolution of what’s happening in that location. Cabled observatories then allow the researcher to review and study this data in real time via the internet. Observatories also allow researchers to use multiple instruments at the same time, so they can see how variables relate to one another, and what those things means for larger ocean processes.  

In this lesson, students look at how observatories have contributed to observing and measuring storm events.

Lesson Plan on Ocean Observatories: "I'm All Shook Up"

Understanding Data

Understanding data is another important skill that can be explored through observatories. In this lesson, students explore how to analyse data that have been collected. This lesson is intended to be a foundation lesson on how to look at data as it explores some key ideas and skills researchers use.   

Lesson Plan on Interpreting Data