January 9, 2017 3:48 pm

Dalhousie Ocean Tracking Network gets $11M from federal government

Dalhousie University's Ocean Tracking Network has been granted $11.4 million from the federal government for their ocean research operations.

Ocean Tracking Network/Twitter

Dalhousie University’s Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) will be able to continue their underwater research efforts thanks to an $11.4-million investment from the federal government.

The network has been tracking aquatic life since 2008. Since the start, its study database has grown to include more than 100 species.

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“It provides continuity, it means that everything we’ve built over the last seven to eight years will continue to be built upon, and the network that we have now basically engaged across Canada and across the world will continue,” said OTN scientific director, Sara Iverson.

OTN is recognized globally and across the country for its ocean research. It’s also part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Global Ocean Observing System.

The money comes from the Major Science Initiatives Fund, which gives large research facilities support they need. OTN is one of 17 national research programs to get funding through the federal grant.

“Halifax is exceptionally well positioned to be a leader in ocean science and innovation — and not only because of our status as a primary coastal city. Halifax is home to many of today’s leading minds on ocean research, supported largely by Dalhousie University,” said MP Andy Fillmore in a release.

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In addition to providing international ocean research, OTN gives students hands-on experiences and exposure to the research world.

“I think that it provides the opportunity for a lot more projects, not only for students to get good experience, I’ve had amazing experiences being part of OTN,” said masters student Benia Nowak.

“I’ve been able to go to conferences and network with other scientists that I would never have been able to meet. It’s enhanced not only my project, but how I look at science as a whole, so I think that opportunities like that are really important for new students.”

The funding will mean OTN can continue to meet the demands of Canadian and international users, communicate its data and outcomes and maintain their headquarters and operations.

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