Canada Holds Regional Census of Marine Life Workshop
The Canadian NRIC of the Census of Marine Life met along with Canadian marine science leaders from academia, government, and ocean-focused funding agencies in Ottawa on January 10-11, 2011 to explore ways to capitalize on Canada’s emergence as a global leader in marine biodiversity research and to take advantage of Canada’s world-class marine science infrastructure to plan for sustainable ocean use. About 40 marine biodiversity leaders from universities and government attended the two-day meeting to address changing marine biodiversity in Canada’s three oceans.
“Canada was well represented in the first Census of Marine and our scientists held many leadership positions during its ten years of exploration and discovery,” says Dr. Paul Snelgrove, professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Ocean Sciences Centre and Biology Department, Director of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, and author of Discoveries of the Census of Marine Life: Making Ocean Life Count, (Cambridge University Press, 2010), the authoritative book of Census results. “This experience puts Canada in the enviable position of having many of the world’s leading experts in marine biodiversity, who are coming together to figure out how we might coordinate our research programs and move forward together using the plethora of knowledge and expertise learned from the first Census as a foundation for better ocean usage.”The meeting is organized by the Census of Marine Life, completed in 2010, which brought together 2,700 scientists from more than 80 nations to establish a baseline of the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the global ocean against which future change can be measured. The first Census found that life in the ocean is richer, more connected, and more impacted by human activities than expected.
Canada is home to two major Census of Marine Life legacy programs. The NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) is a research network of Canadian university researchers and government scientists formed to develop research tools that will aid decision-making for sustainable ocean usage. CHONe is compiling a marine biodiversity database for Canada’s three oceans that will serve as a baseline and also developing scientific guidelines for conservation-based decisions in ocean management and policy. The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is a global network that tracks thousands of tagged marine animals—from fish to birds to polar bears— using acoustic telemetry technology on the ocean floor to provide data about their movements, while building a record of climate change.
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