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New Data and Science Highlights Pages

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Our Image of the Week, Science Highlights and Data Highlights are now hosted on the new oceannetworks.ca website.

We also have a new Images home page.

Complex Nature of Zooplankton Migration

Zooplantklon migration
A recent publication in Marine Ecology Progress (Marine Ecology Progress, 2013 V.480, pp 39-56) sheds more light on the complex process of diel zooplankton migration. A recent graduate of the UVic's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Dr. Mei Sato has completed extensive analysis of the zooplankton diel vertical migration patterns using chlorophyll and echo-sounder data collected by DFO and VENUS, respectively, in Saanich Inlet. Her research was focused on understanding the second order drivers of the diel migration timing. The first order signal is the seasonal variation due to changes in the length of day-light hours (Image: the hour-glass shape of the slice), while the second order terms look into environmental factors that impact behavior of the species that are integral part of the food web.

Dr. Mei Sato's analysis shows that there are subtle variations to the time of ascent and decent during the year, which might be attributed to both food supply and zooplankton life-cycle (body size). Other factors include variations in the presence of predators and prey competition. Some factors, such as lunar cycles and the possible influence of full moons were statistically ruled out.

Mei successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis in early May 2013.

Reference: Sato M., Dower J., Dewey, R. 2013. Second-order seasonal variability in diel vertical migration timing of euphausiids in a coastal inlet. Marine Ecology Progress Series 480: 39-56, DOI:10.3354/meps10215.

Whale Sounds – May 28, 2013

Between May. 28, 2013 08:21:14 UTC and 08:47:00 UTC the VENUS hydrophone array at our Strait of Georgia East site (170m depth) picked up whale sounds. Some representative examples (5 minutes in length) from Hydrophone #3 of the array are shown below.

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The Strait of Georgia Hydrophone Array is Live at 170m

Lloyd's Mirror represented in hydrophone data from Strait of Georgia at 170m, May 2, 2013
The VENUS team has successfully re-deployed the hydrophone system in Strait of Georgia at 170m. Lloyd's mirror is nicely represented in this spectrogram from May 2 2013.

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AUV Mission in Saanich Inlet Delivers Test Data Set

Oxygen and temperature data collected on an AUV mission in Saanich Inlet on April 17, 2013. Plotted by Dr. Jody Klymak (SEOS, UVic)

Oxygen and temperature data collected on an AUV mission in Saanich Inlet on April 17, 2013. Plotted by Dr. Jody Klymak (SEOS, UVic)

In April 2013, the AUV (“Bluefin”) successfully ran a test science mission in Saanich Inlet. Operated by engineers from the UVic's Ocean Technology Lab, led by Dr. Colin Bradley, the AUV enhances capabilities of VENUS – the coastal ocean observatory of Ocean Networks Canada.

For test deployment in Saanich Inlet the AUV was equipped with key oceanographic sensors, oxygen and temperature, and a multibeam sonar to scan the seafloor. The test mission focused on mapping the Inlet structure to assess both the early spring conditions and whether any mid or deep water intrusions have occurred.

According to Dr. Jody Klymak, an oceanographer from the UVic's School of Earth and Ocean Science, who helped to organize the science mission, the main objective of the mission was to fully assess capabilities of the mini-sub. “It is an advanced multipurpose tool, and we would like to see it support ongoing research programs at SEOS”. The AUV is capable of powered flight in waters down to 200m depth and can run for up to 8 hours gathering valuable data from the geographically dispersed areas.

Preliminary assessment of the test-mission data from several weeks ago clearly shows that the deep water renewal event in Saanich Inlet has not occurred yet. The event, a long studied natural phenomena, is a harbinger of the spring-coming in Saanich Inlet, when oxygen-rich waters and nutrients finally reach the seasonally hypoxic fjord.

Seven Years In Saanich Inlet

Seven Years In Saanich Inlet
This full length time series from Saanich Inlet reveals seven full seasons of variability. Since February 2006 VENUS has been collecting data on one of the first advanced ocean observatory systems. The data not only show the cooling and freshening during winter and the warming and in-flux of higher salinity water during the summer, but clearly reveal sutble differences between years. The first year 2006-2007 was an El Niño and was one of our warmest. 2008-2009 was a La Niña and one of the coolest. The winter of 2010 (during the Olympics) was mild, as was the summer of 2010 which was cloudy and cool. This week we present our 2012 observations at the Pacific State of the Ocean workshop at IOS.

We celebrate our successes with all of our researchers, partners, and a dedicated staff that continues to develop new and exciting systems that will reveal new features of our coastal ocean in the years to come.

Oxygen Up, Temperature Down in Saanich Inlet

Oxygen and lower Temperatures Return to VENUS Site in Saanich Inlet

The figure shows the temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration from the VENUS Instrument Platform (VIP) in Saanich Inlet located at approximately 97 metres depth, for the period of January 28 through to February 3, 2013. The temperature is dropping and the oxygen increasing, a sign that top-down and lateral mixing has finally penetrated our study area to bring upper water-column conditions down to our sensors and experiments at 97m. In the late summer and early fall (August-October), dense salty water enters Saanich Inlet and flows to the deepest portions of the basin, displacing upwards the very low oxygen (hypoxic) water residing there. This displacement causes the mid-depth waters (where VENUS sensors are located) to become hypoxic, a condition that has now persisted for over four months (since late September 2012). Surface cooling and tidal exchanges gradually mix down higher oxygen and lower temperature water from nearer the ocean surface, where cold atmospheric weather cools the oxygen-rich surface waters. This “ventilation” of higher oxygen water is particularly late this year (2013). Previously (2007-2012), the low oxygen conditions at this depth/study area persisted just into the new year, with transition to lower temperatures and higher oxygen levels occurring in early January. The “State of the Ocean” plot suggests the 2012-13 fall/winter exhibited both the coolest and most sustained low oxygen conditions in seven years of monitoring on the VENUS network.

Links: VENUS: The State of the Ocean

BC Ferry System Generates over 48 Plots Each Day

Daily Data Snapshot from the VENUS Ferry System

Stacked in the image are 48 plots generated from 16 sensors of the VENUS Ferry System installed on a BC Ferries M/V Queen of Alberni. The comprehensive system monitors oceanographic and atmospheric conditions while the ferry transits between Nanaimo (Duke Point) and Vancouver (Tsawwassen).

Oceanographic parameters collected by the system include seawater temperature, salinity, density, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and the relative concentration of chlorophyll.

Meteorological measurements focus on marine atmospheric boundary layer conditions and include air temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction, incoming solar radiation, and out-going irradiance.

The image shows a day of data collected on Jan 5th, 2013. For each parameter, data are plotted in a number of distinct ways to show alternate characteristics of the geospatial and temporal nature of the variations.

The data collected by the ferry system are retrieved daily through a series of communications over the cellular network between the ferry and VENUS shore station. Check out the latest ferry data plots at the BC Ferry plots page.

View full-resolution image (right-click link to download) to see the full-sized plots.

Daily Data Snapshot from the VENUS Ferry System.

Strait of Georgia Surface Currents—Animated Data Product Released

24-hour CODAR data animation for Nov 8. 2012. Southern Strait of Georgia.

24-hour CODAR data animation for Nov 8. 2012. Southern Strait of Georgia.


The VENUS data team adds another animated data product to its data plots gallery.

This animated image depicts measurements of the surface ocean currents in the Strait of Georgia over a recent 24-hour period.

The currents are measured using a “CODAR” (Coastal Ocean Dynamics Applications Radar) system. The VENUS CODAR system consists of two antennae, one at the Iona Wastewater Treatment plant, near Vancouver Airport, the other at the Westshore Coal Terminal, near the BC Ferries port at Tsawwassen. These are labelled in the image as “VION” and “VCOL”, respectively.

Each image in the sequence shows the current averaged over an hour. The size of the arrows is proportional to the current magnitude. The location of each measurement is at the midpoint of the corresponding arrow.

The depicted measurements span an entire tidal cycle, but the flood and ebb tides seen in the animation are not symmetric: the southward-trending ebb tide is considerably stronger than the northward-trending flood tide. This is most likely due to the prevailing winds over the last few days which have been from the NW, pushing surface currents to the south. The ebb tide reinforces this flow and thus appears very strong, while the flood tide works against the wind driven flow and thus appears weaker.

Links: CODAR Last 24 Hours Daily Animation

Other Sounds – June 28, 2012

On Jun. 28, 2012 at approximately 02:55:47 UTC the icListen Low Frequency Hydrophone on the VENUS hydrophone array at our Strait of Georgia East site (170m depth) picked up an earthquake. According to the Natural Resources Canada earthquake website (http://www.earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/recent/maps-cartes/index-eng.php?tpl_region=swbc), this signal corresponds to an 0.4 magnitude earthquake 21 km WSW of Tsawwassen, BC. The data is shown below.

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