With more than 7,500 km of coastline, Nova Scotia has a connection to the ocean that's visceral and immediate.
But behind the scenery, there’s a legacy of industry, science and discovery, connecting the province’s past to its present and future.
In Nova Scotia, over 200 companies are focused on the oceans, and more than 30,000 people are directly employed by oceans activities. When you include spinoffs, more than 10 per cent of provincial income is oceans related. Oceans industry accounts for 6 per cent of provincial GDP, with revenues doubling between 2002 and 2009. And ocean technology companies account for about one third of all R&D (research and development) performed by businesses in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is home to the highest concentration oceans-related PhDs in the world — including those among the 100-plus faculty at Dal focused on oceans-related work. Dalhousie earns 25 per cent of all federal oceans research grants and is home to some of the world’s key ocean research networks. And it's now the home of Canada's first undergrdauate degree in Ocean Sciences.
The university is also one of 13 research partners in the Global Partnership for Oceans, a coalition of governments, companies, UN agencies and other groups that work with governments and stakeholders to development and implement strategies for sustainable fishers and aquaculture, coastal and marine habitat conservation, and pollution reduction.
This is World Oceans Week, with a number of oceans-related activities and events happening across the province, culminating with World Oceans Day on Saturday, June 8. (See the full schedule on the Greater Halifax Partnership website.) And this week, Dalhousie celebrates the opening of the new Ocean Sciences Building.
To mark the occasion, we’ve compiled just a few of Dal’s ocean connections in one place, demonstrating the depth of the university community’s contribution to our oceans.
Read about more oceans connections on the Research website.
Marine life on the move
The Ocean Tracking Network is a $168-million conservation project that’s working to dramatically expand our knowledge of what takes place in our oceans. It tracks thousands of marine animals around the world—from fish to birds to polar bears—using acoustic telemetry technology. At the same time, it is a record of climate change — data that can be analyzed and then applied. Headquartered at Dalhousie University, OTN unites leading ocean scientists around the globe.
• Dal News: Tracking sharks to prevent attacks (June 2012)
• Website: Ocean Tracking Network
The changing ocean
As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology, Doug Wallace will develop new, more accurate observation methods to help understand how our oceans are changing. His work, based out of the new Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building, involves creating new containerized biogeochemical observation instruments to be stationed on research and commercial container ships around the globe to gather information about the fundamental transformations happening in the oceans.
• Dal News: The ripple effect (June 2010)
• Website: CERC.OCEAN
Bringing the oceans sector together
Dalhousie is a founding educational partner in the Halifax Marine Research Institute, designed to align the region’s considerable oceans assets and expertise to benefit the marine science and marine technology sectors. By brokering partnerships among industry, universities, government and private institutions, the HMRI works to enhance both the competitive of ocean industries and our overall knowledge base. With Dr. Wallace as its scientific director, the HMRI will be based out of the new Ocean Sciences Building.
• Dal News: Halifax Marine Research Institute launched (June 2011)
• Website: Halifax Marine Research Institute
Crises in marine biodiversity
Marine biologist Boris Worm has earned international recognition for his work illuminating the causes and consequences of changes in marine biodiversity. His 2006 paper in Science that predicted a collapse in the global seafood supply by 2048 was a media sensation, and its follow-up paper with fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn has been well recognized for its important role in bridging gaps between scientific disciplines. In 2011 he was awarded an NSERC Steacie Fellowship.
• Dal News: Unsustainable fishing: Dal researchers on the global shark decline (March 2013)
• Website: Worm lab
Protecting Canadians from ocean hazards
MEOPAR (Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response) is a research network headquartered at Dal that is mobilizing the talent to perform the science necessary to anticipate hazards and improve response to marine emergencies: hurricanes, tsunamis, coastal flooding, oil spills and more. The network is led by Dr. Wallace.
• Dal News: A network to protect Canadians from ocean hazards (May 2012)
• Website: MEOPAR
A one-of-a-kind research facility
A world-class research centre, Dalhousie’s Aquatron Laboratory supports projects from university, industry and government. It hosts more than 4,600 m2 of research space, including 17 wet labs, a 640-m3 Pool Tank and the 10m-deep Tower Tank. Last year, it expanded to include four new, large pool tanks located inside the Ocean Sciences Building.
• Dal News: Aquatron expands to help stop the spread of invasive species (June 2012)
• Website: Aquatron
Ocean security and policy
Dalhousie’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies has been a convenor on matters such as marine security and oceans policy since its creation in 1971. Dalhousie is also home to the Dalhousie Marine Affairs Program, which offers a Master of Marine Management degree for students interested in marine affairs: everything from coastal zone management, to marine law and policy to protection and preservation of the coastal and marine environment and more. Marine Affairs is also home to the PIRACY project, developing new approaches to addressing international piracy.
• Dal News: Child pirates: A world away from play (March 2013)
• Website: Marine Affairs Program
• Website: Centre for Foreign Policy Studies
Sustaining shellfish aquaculture
Faculty of Agriculture scientist Sarah Stewart-Clark uses her innovative molecular biology and genomic expertise to assist the shellfish aquaculture industry in Atlantic Canada in increasing its sustainability, production efficiency and high product quality for which the industry is world renowned. Increasing rural sustainability and rural economic development are key drivers that fuel Dr. Stewart-Clark's work to support shellfish aquaculture through the application of innovative science, as she grew up in the Maritimes and knows firsthand how important these shellfish aquaculture operations are to the region.
• Website: Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark
Building oceans industry
Satlantic is a thriving Halifax company founded by Dalhousie oceanographer Marlon Lewis to satisfy an emerging need for precision optical sensors for ocean colour satellite calibration and validation. With R&D relationships with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Rutgers University and the University of Southern California, Satlantic has earned a reputation for innovation, outstanding quality and diligent support that has positioned the company as a leader in the ocean sciences community.
• Website: Satlantic
Making a difference
Countless Dalhousie researchers have played a key role in leading major change in ocean science and policy. Oceanographer John Cullen, for example, worked for 20 years to bring attention to the uncertainties and potential dangers of large-scale iron fertilization, once promoted as a solution to addressing greenhouse gases. And at the moment, law professors Meinhard Doelle (director of Dal’s Marine & Environmental Law Institute) and William Lahey are leading work for the Province of Nova Scotia on a wide-ranging consultation on rules for fish farms.
• Dal News: Twenty years advocating for oceans science (February 2012)
• The Chronicle Herald: Nova Scotia set to work on fish farming rules (May 2013)
For more on Dal research — including oceans — visit the Research homepage.
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