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Wednesday, February 11 • 10:30am - 11:30am
Breakout Session: "Oceans Information Systems"

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"The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN): New technology and new information in preparation for a changing ocean." by Dr. Fred Whoriskey


Starting in 2008, Dalhousie University’s Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) began deploying Canadian state-of-the-art acoustic receivers and oceanographic monitoring equipment in key global ocean locations. This equipment is being used to document the movements and survival of valued marine animals carrying acoustic tags (“pingers”), and to document how both are influenced by oceanographic conditions. The species tracked include marine mammals, sea turtles, squid, and fishes including sharks, sturgeon, eels, tuna, salmon, and cod, depending on regional interests. Knowing how animal movements change in response to environmental conditions provides the ability to predict how these animal’s distributions will alter in the face of climate change. From this information we can also predict animal responses to the other wave of “climate change” that is accelerating in the ocean as our new technologies permit us to affordably exploit resources that were previously inaccessible.  Armed with the knowledge provided by OTN,  we can begin to think about how we will manage changed ecosystems, and the people who will depend on them.  However, new ocean information systems such as the OTN are difficult to implement in a resource limited climate, especially on a global scale. OTN is enabling this by partnering internationally to link existing telemetry capacity into a new global ocean observing system, and by embracing the use of new automated underwater vehicle technology that will greatly reduce the costs of operating on the ocean compared to traditional ship based models.

“Ocean acidification; how data are collected and used” by Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott


About 1/4 of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by human activities to the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s has been taken up by the oceans.  This service has slowed down the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, but there is a significant price to pay.  CO2 dissolves in the surface water and forms carbonic acid. This carbonic acid has caused a decrease of ocean pH by 0.1 units over the past 200 years, which is equivalent to a 30% increase in acidity.  If global emissions of CO2 continue at the present rate, ocean pH is predicted to fall an additional 0.3 units by 2100 (150% increase in acidity).  The oceans have not experienced such a rapid pH change or one of this great a magnitude for at least the last 55 million years, raising serious concerns about the ability of ecosystems to adapt. “Ocean Acidification” has become a focus of active research over the last decade.  Accelerated efforts to understand the extent and impact of ocean acidification are underway.  Mechanisms of ocean acidification, possible effects on marine organisms and ecosystems, data collection for archival in the international organization to be used by global research community, public and policy makers will be discussed.    

avatar for Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott is a research scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada), where she leads the carbon and tracer group, and also an adjunct in the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University.  Her research interests include climate change and carbon cycles in the ocean and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic and the Arctic.  She also investigates air-sea... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Fred Whoriskey

Dr. Fred Whoriskey

Executive Director of OTN & Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie, The Ocean Tracking Network & Dalhousie University
Dr. Whoriskey is the Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a global research infrastructure documenting the movements and survival of aquatic animals, and their links to environmental conditions (http://oceantrackingnetwork.org/). The OTN is headquartered at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. Prior to joining Dalhousie University in 2010, Fred was the Vice President, Research and Environment of the Atlantic Salmon Federation... Read More →

Wednesday February 11, 2015 10:30am - 11:30am
Myers Room (224) @ Dalhousie Student Union Building

Attendees (2)