The oceans play vital planetary roles in the global food supply, for offshore oil and gas reserves, marine tourism, and CO2 capture and storage. Unfortunately, habitat destruction, overfishing, pollution, and climate change are endangering this economic engine and the security and livelihoods that it supports. These concerns are relevant to Canada with the world’s longest coastline - 7.1 million kilometres. Through the Development of Autonomous Marine Observation Systems (DAMOS), an internationally-recognized team of ocean experts from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Dalhousie University is proposing a program and infrastructure that will confirm Canada’s leadership in ocean observation.
DAMOS will focus on characterizing shifting ecosystems and valued aquatic species, quantifying ocean carbon uptake, and understanding climate change impacts on the ocean. Examples of potential breakthroughs include:
-A better understanding of the climate-related process of deep convection and Labrador Sea Water formation as well as phytoplankton bloom dynamics in a sub-polar environment
-The determination of the structure and dynamics of shelf-break currents and fish distributions highly important for stock assessment and fisheries management
-The measurement of key migration routes of highly valued species such as cod, halibut, and Atlantic salmon
The new technology developed within DAMOS will benefit Canadians through direct economic enhancement of the ocean technology sector. The knowledge gained from the DAMOS program will help managers and policy makers respond to a changing ocean, directly impacting biological marine resources on which Canada’s coastal communities depend.