Seafloor observatory opens portal to the Pacific

June 23, 2006

The Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) facility, led by the University of Victoria, today opened the data portal to the seafloor through its information management and archive system.

The portal -- hosted on the new VENUS Web site at www.venus.uvic.ca -- gives scientists and the general public access to a constantly expanding "warehouse" of images, sounds and live data from the ocean floor.

"This is a very important and exciting development providing a unique window for researchers and the public on the world under the sea, about which we have so much still to learn," says Dr. Martin Taylor, UVic's vice-president research.

The $10.3 million VENUS facility offers the world's first interactive, real time portal to the ocean. Its underwater network of fibre optic cables and instruments, which is connected to the Internet, lets us all "enter" the ocean whenever we wish, and allows scientists to operate their instruments and download data online, day or night, in real time.

The 3-km network of fibre optic cables and instruments that makes up the first leg of VENUS was installed in Saanich Inlet in February. Information has been streaming in since then. A second, 40 km leg will be installed in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver later this year.

At the heart of VENUS is a centralized data management and archive system that offers unrestricted access to long-term ocean observations. "It is a very advanced software 'structure' that was developed at UVic and sets new standards in data capture, access and delivery," says VENUS project director and marine biologist Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe.

The four key features of the data management and archive system are: data acquisition and storage; easy user access to data; observatory monitoring; and the control of instruments by VENUS scientists. "This is a remarkable resource and represents a year of hard work by a 13-member team," says Tunnicliffe.

"The information we see today on the VENUS website is just the tip of the iceberg," says Benoît Pirenne, director of the database team. "Behind the scenes, there is an extensive software and hardware infrastructure designed to collect data from the various instruments and store them for 20 or more years."

VENUS instruments collect several gigabytes of information every 24 hours. In its four-and-a-half months of operation, VENUS has already archived more than 35 million measurements and dozens of gigabytes of acoustic and visual data. That information -- and new real time data -- is now available to the world.

The data management system is constantly evolving. In the near future, "software agents" will work on behalf of VENUS scientists, monitoring incoming data and alerting them by e-mail or cell phone if an unusual event or trend occurs that warrants immediate attention.

Over its 20-year lifespan, VENUS will support studies on topics such as: long-term ocean change; tides, currents and mixing; fish and marine mammal movements; seafloor community ecology; underwater noise pollution; sediment and slope dynamics; and plankton behaviour.

Source: University of Victoria

Explore further: 'Electric wind' can strip Earth-like planets of oceans, atmospheres

Related Stories

Venus mountains create wave trains

January 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —The planet Venus is blanketed by high-level clouds. At visible wavelengths, individual cloud features are difficult to see, but observations made by instruments on ESA's Venus Express orbiter have revealed many ...

Venus may hold astonishing discoveries

November 3, 2005

University of Colorado at Boulder planetary scientist Larry Esposito, a member of the European Space Agency's Venus Express science team, believes the upcoming mission to Earth's "evil twin" planet should be full of surprises. ...

Surprises in the South polar vortex in Venus' atmosphere

March 25, 2013

Spanish astronomers with the UPV/EHU's Planetary Science Group have published, online in the journal Nature Geoscience, a study of the atmospheric vortex of the south pole of Venus, a huge whirlwind the size of Europe. In ...

Recommended for you

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

December 8, 2016

Pioneering work being carried out in a cave in New Mexico by researchers at McMaster University and The University of Akron, Ohio, is changing the understanding of how antibiotic resistance may have emerged and how doctors ...

New studies take a second look at coral bleaching culprit

December 7, 2016

Scientists have called superoxide out as the main culprit behind coral bleaching: The idea is that as this toxin build up inside coral cells, the corals fight back by ejecting the tiny energy- and color-producing algae living ...

Cosmic dust found in city rooftop gutters

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers with Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum in London, Project Stardust in Norway and Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, has found samples of cosmic dust in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.