Seafloor observatory opens portal to the Pacific

Jun 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: US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A salty, martian meteorite offers clues to habitability

Aug 28, 2014

Life as we know it requires energy of some sort to survive and thrive. For plants, that source of energy is the Sun. But there are some microbes that can survive using energy from chemical reactions. Some ...

Rotation of planets influences habitability

Aug 08, 2014

There are currently almost 2,000 extrasolar planets known to us, but most are inhospitable gas giants. Thanks to NASA's Kepler mission, a handful of smaller, rockier planets have been discovered within the ...

Venus Express gets ready to take the plunge

May 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —After eight years in orbit, ESA's Venus Express has completed routine science observations and is preparing for a daring plunge into the planet's hostile atmosphere.

Recommended for you

US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

2 hours ago

Weather forecasters and emergency officials warned Sunday that melting snow would lead to heavy flooding in parts of the US northeast, with hundreds of thousands of people told to brace for fast-rising waters.

3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

Nov 21, 2014

Last week, China and the United States announced an ambitious climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions in both countries, a pledge that marks the first time that China has agreed to stop its growing emissions. ...

From hurricanes to drought, LatAm's volatile climate

Nov 21, 2014

Sixteen years ago, Teodoro Acuna Zavala lost nearly everything when Hurricane Mitch ravaged his fields, pouring 10 days of torrential rains on Central America and killing more than 9,000 people.

User comments : 0

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.