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World's largest ocean observatory takes shape
Date:7/8/2009

Canada is taking the world on a 25-year non-stop research expeditioninto the deep ocean.

Over the next two-and-a-half months, a team of scientists and marine engineers are completing the installation off the British Columbia coast of NEPTUNE Canada, the world's largest and most advanced cabled ocean observatory.

Using three ships and at least one ROV, the team is lowering five 13-tonne nodes and more than 400 instruments and sensors to the seafloor where they are being attached to an 800-km loop of powered fibre-optic cable laid in 2007.

Led by the University of Victoria, NEPTUNE Canada pioneers a new generation of ocean observation systems thatusing abundant power and the Internetprovide continuous, long-term monitoring of ocean processes and events, as they happen.

Land-based researchers across Canada and around the world will use NEPTUNE Canada to conduct offshore and deep-sea experiments and receive real-time data without leaving their laboratories and offices.

"This is truly transformative science," says Dr. David Turpin, president of the University of Victoria. "At a time when our understanding of the oceans is clearly becoming more essential than ever, NEPTUNE Canada will play a leadership role in advancing our knowledge of the oceans in ways not previously possible. We are launching a new era of ocean exploration."

Lying at depths of up to 2.6 km, the bright yellow nodeswhich supply power and two-way communicationsare protected in a trawl-resistant frame. All NEPTUNE Canada components and instruments are specially designed to withstand intense pressure and the cold, corrosive salt-water environment of the North Pacific. Many involve breakthrough technology being deployed for the first time anywhere in the world.

Much of the infrastructure for NEPTUNE Canada is being designed, manufactured and installed by Alcatel-Lucent and its main subcontractors.

"This extended cooperation with
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Contact: Valerie Shore
vshore@uvic.ca
250-721-7641
University of Victoria
Source:Eurekalert

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