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New sea floor lab will help study climate change


Victoria, BC – A sea-floor laboratory that will help researchers study important environmental issues such as climate change, earthquakes, fish conservation and energy sources is receiving $1 million in funding from the British Columbia government.

The University of Victoria Ocean Technology Test Bed (OTTB) will allow engineers to develop and test underwater vehicles, plus advanced navigation and underwater communication systems. Scientists will be able to respond to events like plankton blooms, fish migrations, earthquakes, tsunamis or underwater volcanic eruptions in real-time – free from the limitations of ship schedules, bad weather, and intermittent data.

The OTTB will further enhance UVics position as a leader in research and technology development for ocean study and will provide rich training opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers, said David Turpin, UVic president.

The test bed will be a first-of-a-kind, said mechanical engineering professor Colin Bradley, who will develop the test bed. The laboratory will offer engineering research opportunities that dont exist anywhere else, and allow collaborative work from any location across the country or around the world.

The test bed will be interactive with other UVic-led ocean observatories on the west coast, including the VENUS (Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea) and NEPTUNE Canada (The North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments). The laboratory will be located in the Saanich inlet near Sidney and construction is expected to begin by May 2008.