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Ocean Research


December 2016 Issue

$4.3 Million in Funding
For Canadian Arctic Research

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) awarded $2 million in funding to nine applied Arctic research projects focused on areas of importance to Canada’s Arctic communities and the marine industry. An additional $2.3 million will come from contributing partners, for a total of $4.3 million in research funding.

The projects are: Enhancing capacity for Arctic oil spill response, Thomas Puestow, C-Core; Improving and monitoring water quality in Nunavut, Graham Gagnon, Dalhousie University; Developing capacity for monitoring the effects of climate change and industry on Arctic wildlife health, Susan Kutz and Sandie Black, University of Calgary; Developing governance best practices for Arctic shipping, Jackie Dawson, University of Ottawa; Improving community communication around marine environmental assessments, Kevin Hanna, University of British Columbia; Creating resources for safe marine travel in Nunavut, Sean Guistini and Helena Craymer, Nunavut Arctic College; Establishing a Nunavut weather station network to support safe travel, Brent Else, University of Calgary; Integrating genomics, morphology and local ecological knowledge to improve Arctic capelin stock management, Marie Clement, Louis Bernatchez, Pascal Sirois and Grant Murray, Université Laval, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and Duke University; and Tracking trends in ringed seal health in a changing world, Pierre-Yves Daoust, University of Prince Edward Island.

Saturn’s Moon Dione
Harbors Subsurface Ocean

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts.

In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione’s crust floats on an ocean located 100 km below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core.

Dione’s ocean has probably survived for the whole history of the moon, and thus offers a long-lived habitable zone for microbial life.

Tools for Underwater
Archeology Studies

Many universities are adding or expanding their underwater archaeology programs to give students a broader educational experience and a better understanding of maritime history. The field of underwater archaeology is rapidly growing as more scientists and researchers learn to scuba dive, and the equipment required for marine exploration becomes more affordable.

Long Beach City College in California is one of the many institutions involved in these efforts. They recently added the Maritime Archaeology, Science and Technology (MAST) program led by Dr. Laurel Harrison Breece, who chose JW Fishers Mfg. as the supplier for a sub-bottom profiler, side scan sonar, magnetometer, underwater video system and metal detector.

Another institution with an active marine archaeology program is the University of West Florida, which acquired JW Fishers Pulse 8X underwater metal detector and the Diver Mag 1 magnetometer.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) has an online Museum of Underwater Archaeology with information about shipwreck projects the school is involved in around the world. Using a Pulse 8X metal detector, URI researchers have recovered large copper nails, cannon balls, grapples, 18th century muskets and gold coins.

Indiana University Bloomington has one of the oldest academic diving programs in the U.S. Researchers there rely on the JW Fishers Pulse 8X handheld underwater metal detector and PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer.

Donald Maxwell Award
2016 Winner

At the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) AGM Luncheon, this year’s Donald Maxwell undergraduate award was presented to Kate Devereux, a student at the University of Southampton, who received a check for £1,000.

“Her dissertation is a fantastic example of the work young women are doing in our industry, and SMI is proud to be part of celebrating British female engineers,” SMI Chairman Peter French said.

The award is given for the best final year degree project from a U.K. resident student undertaking their study on a degree accredited by The Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST).

Devereux’s paper was: “Investigation into the suitability of composite materials for the construction of marine propellers.”

Shark, Ray Study in
Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL), an estuary of national significance and one of the most biodiverse in North America, is home to a myriad of species, from phytoplankton to dolphins and seagrasses to sharks. Two scientists with Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, along with their collaborators, recently captured, sampled and tagged nearly 100 sharks and rays in the IRL, including two endangered smalltooth sawfish and several spotted eagle rays, a protected species.

This is part of a new study to find out more about the sharks and rays that inhabit the IRL in an effort to better understand how anthropogenic factors like algal blooms and rain events affect these predators.

The IRL has lacked consistent sampling of sharks and rays, preventing an understanding of how this impacted environment is potentially influencing these important species. Acoustically tagging these animals enables discovery of where they go through the Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry (FACT) network, a collaborative monitoring effort to gain a better understanding of the movement patterns of a variety of aquatic species.

Sharks and rays, with their slow growth rate, late maturity and low fecundity, are among some of the most sensitive marine vertebrates to ecosystem shifts. This study will evaluate their health by measuring length and weight and taking blood and microbial swabs to characterize and develop physiological baselines for sharks and rays in the area.


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Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.