Our science plan, which serves the broad scientific community, was developed with guidance from both the NEPTUNE Science Planning and User Committees and with the VENUS Users Advisory Committee. The Science Plan is a high level strategic roadmap and our objectives are organized under four themes:
- Understanding Human-Induced Change in the Northeast Pacific Ocean
- Life in the Environments of the Northeast Pacific Ocean and Salish Sea
- Interconnections Among the Seafloor, Ocean, and Atmosphere
- Seafloor and Sediment in Motion
Each theme poses several key scientific questions, describes why each question is important, and explains how Ocean Networks Canada can contribute to answering the question. Collectively, addressing these questions is aimed at realizing the two goals in our Mission Statement: to advance innovative science and technology and to realise benefits to Canadians.
Understanding Human-Induced Change in the northeast Pacific Ocean
- What are the magnitudes and rates of changes occurring in the northeast Pacific ocean?
- How will northeast Pacific Ocean marine ecosystems respond to increasing ocean acidification?
- How does the depletion of oxygen in coastal waters affect ecosystem services?
Life in the Environments of the Northeast Pacific Ocean and Salish Sea
- How are changes in the northeast Pacific affecting fish and marine mammals?
- How do benthic marine populations and communities respond to and recover from physical and biological disturbance?
- What are the functions and rates of seafloor and subseafloor biogeochemical processes?
- What limits life in the subseafloor?
- How do the microbial communities regulate and respond to times when oxygen is low and how do these changes affect animal communities?
- How do ocean transport processes impact primary productivity in the northeast Pacific?
Interconnections Among the Seafloor, Ocean, and Atmosphere
- What are the mechanism and magnitude of chemical and heat exchanges between the oceanic crust and seawater?
- In what ways do upper ocean processes influence the formation of aerosols?
- How large is the flux of methane from the seafloor to the atmosphere?
- What are the advantages and risks of ocean geoengineering to mitigate climate change?
Seafloor and Sediment in Motion
- How is the physical state of the subseafloor in the northeast Pacific related to earthquake generation?
- How can we improve prediction of the speed and size of tsunamis?
- What mechanisms regulate underwater landslides on the Fraser River delta?
These themes and related key questions broadly encapsulate most of the active research areas supported by Ocean Networks Canada. There are many additional and important questions, and specific process oriented studies that could be supported on our observatories. Please contact our Staff Scientists to explore your particular interests.
Although the observatories are regional in scope, they have already attracted a number of committed international researchers, and we expect that number to continue to grow. thus, the research conducted through Ocean Networks Canada’s observatories, and collaboratively with other observatories as they come online in the next few years, is expected to contribute to the global effort to provide the scientific underpinning that will enable sustainable management of ocean resources, even as the human footprint on the ocean continues to increase.