Live-streaming ancient undersea volcanoes in HD

16-day expedition to map underwater seamounts

Canada is known for its natural wonders, but some of the most amazing features are kilometres beneath the waves. A 16-day expedition, which launched from Sidney last Wednesday, will shed some light on seamounts: underwater mountains that teem with life.

Scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Haida Nation, Oceana Canada and Ocean Networks Canada are abord the E/V Nautilus, a state-of-the-art research vessel, to collect data on the physical features and ecosystems of these seamounts, which could include cold-water corals and sponges to Bocaccio (rockfish) and killer whales. The expedition is from July 5 to 21.

Robert Rangely, science director with Oceana Canada (a charity dedicated to rebuilding Canada’s fisheries) said these areas are valuable for ocean biodiversity, calling them “oases of the sea” which attract mobile species like rockfish, sablefish, halibut, “species that people know and are really important, some of which aren’t doing so well.”

Officially dubbed the Northeast Pacific Seamounts Expedition, scientists will explore three seamounts: Sgaan Kinghlas-Bowie, Dellwood and Explorer. They will establish long-term monitoring sites on SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie (already a Marine Protected Area), and for the first time, will use multibeam sonar to map Dellwood and Explorer Seamounts. That baseline data is the first step in potentially designating Dellwood and Explorer as Marine Protected Areas as well. They are in Canada’s Pacific Area of Interest, and contain hydrothermal vents and 87 per cent of known seamounts in Canada.

“These are islands of biodiversity in the deep ocean,” said Kim Juniper, chief scientist with Ocean Networks Canada (a UVic-affiliated not-for-profit that delivers ocean data through cabled observatories, robots and more). Juniper said Canada has an obligation under the Convention on Biological Diversity to set aside 10 per cent of its Exclusive Economic Zone before the end of 2020 as Marine Protected Areas, so the scientists are exploring potential sites to do just that.

“We can’t decide on boundaries or measures of protection until we’re better informed as to what’s there, where the organisms [are], where the biodiversity is concentrated…that’s what we’re going to find out,” said Juniper.

Located 180 kilometres offshore and to the west of Haida Gwaii, SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount extends 3,000 metres from the surrounding seafloor and reaches to just 24 metres below the sea’s surface. Juniper said he was also excited to work with the Haida Nation as partners in the expedition.

The three seamounts will be explored using two remotely operated vehicles, named Hercules and Argus. Argus is equipped with a manipulator arm, vacuum hose, high-definition cameras and other tools to bring samples to the surface and high-quality visuals to scientists and curious people across the globe. The arm is not controlled by a joystick, but rather a miniature version of the arm aboard the ship with all the same joints as the real thing.

Curious Canadians can watch daily livestreams and updates, and ask scientists questions about what they see. Alison Fundis, vice-president of marine operations and programs for Ocean Explorations Trust, said E/V Nautilus is capable of streaming HD video in real time via satellite to viewers on the internet.

“Not only will it be really exciting visually, you’ll get a glimpse of science in action,” said Rangely.

To view live-streams and for more information, visit protectoceans.ca

 

Just Posted

A banana peel worthy of Burning Man

North Saanich artist builds a light-up, laughing sculpture for 70,000 festival-goers

READERS’ CHOICE: Saluting the stars of the Saanich Peninsula

Welcome to the Peninsula News Review’s 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, our… Continue reading

The 2018 Summer Sounds Series in Sidney sure to delight

It’s a free musical event that runs all summer long

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

Saanich Peninsula athletes earn their place at B.C. Games

The Saanich Peninsula will be well-represented next week as the 40th annual… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Gold medals for Victoria rowers at BC Games

Both girls row out of the Victora City Rowing Club at Elk Lake

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Most Read