Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) concluded its 2018 series of international science theme workshops this past fall with two events, one on observing and monitoring fisheries management/ecosystem functioning and biodiversity and another on sediment transport/carbon burial. The workshops were co-hosted by ONC senior staff scientists and ONC science theme leaders, who are uniquely positioned to connect ONC infrastructure and data with the international research community.
ONC science theme leader Jacopo Aguzzi and ONC scientist Fabio De Leo co-organized the 4-5 October fisheries management/ecosystem functioning and biodiversity workshop at the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona. Researchers collaborated on how to use ONC’s observatory infrastructure to enhance monitoring capacity related to the sustainable use of marine resources—particularly commercially exploited species in Canada—and ecosystem responses and adaptation to climate change, and to hear new perspectives from potential users.
“The Barcelona workshop summoned experts from different areas of marine ecology in order to create common practices and platforms, and discuss data collection dedicated to the monitoring of ecosystem functioning via ONC’s cabled observatories and remotely controlled seafloor crawlers,” says Aguzzi, a benthic ecologist and chronobiology expert at ICM-CSIC whose work focuses on biodiversity, deep-sea species, and fisheries stock assessments.
Workshop participants included researchers and scientists from Spain (ICM-CSIS, Polytechnic University of Catalonia-Remote Acquisition and Data Processing Systems); Italy (National Research Council-Institute of Marine Science, the Italian federal government’s agriculture ministry, Marche Polytechnic University, Anton Dohrn Zoological Station); Germany (Jacobs University); France (Institute of Microbiology of the Mediterranean); the U.K. (University College London, University of Edinburgh); Australia (CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research); the U.S. (University of Hawaii, Marine Ecology and Technology Applications environmental consultants); and Canada (University of Victoria).
“ONC’s infrastructure is progressively being finetuned to give access to complex data sets that allow real-time monitoring of ecosystem-based fisheries in the Pacific by end users everywhere, including the use of optoacoustic tools to identify commercially targeted species,” Aguzzi says.
ONC science theme leader Pere Puig and Natural Resources Canada research scientist Gwyn Lintern co-led the 27-28 November sediment transport/carbon burial workshop, which took place at ONC’s new headquarters in the Ocean-Climate Building on the University of Victoria’s Queenswood campus and was co-hosted by ONC scientist Martin Scherwath.
Researchers discussed powerful turbidity flows in the Salish Sea from the Fraser River delta and the importance of nutrient cycling and energy transfer in aquatic ecosystems and food webs at Barkley Canyon offshore Vancouver Island. Discussions also concentrated on potential research of and publication opportunities for existing data from ONC’s inshore and offshore Pacific Ocean cabled observatories as well as possible new oceanographic instrumentation, scientific sites, and long-term time-series experiments.
“This workshop provided scientists from around the world a close perspective on the potential for ONC data and infrastructure in studies on sediment dynamics, focusing on the implications of particulate organic carbon transport and accumulation in the marine ecosystem,” says Puig, an oceanographic geologist and head of marine geosciences at ICM-CSIC whose research interests centre on off-shelf and submarine canyon sediment transport processes.
Workshop participants included researchers and scientists from Spain (ICM-CSIC); the Netherlands (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research); Germany (Jacobs University); the U.K. (National Oceanography Centre, Durham University); the U.S. (University of Washington, Oregon State University, Florida State University); and Canada (University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta).
“This meeting brought us face-to-face with international scientists who are keenly interested in the details of our work and how they can get involved,” says Lintern, who specializes in marine geohazards at the Geological Survey of Canada’s Pacific Geoscience Centre in Sidney, British Columbia. “It also gave those researchers some inside knowledge on how ONC works and what it can offer, and helped demystify which data are available, who has access, and how the data can be obtained.”