Student Reports

Oceans First

Students at different universities are now using Ocean Networks Canada data and instrumentation to author reports for online journals, such as Oceans First, an academic journal for first-year university students at Dalhousie University.


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If you have written a report or paper that includes Ocean Networks Canada data please let us know, we would love to feature your work on this page!


Selected Bibliography


Oceans First, Issue 2 (May/June 2015)

No Air: Should We Care? Examining Spirontocaris sica living in a hypoxic environment

MacLean, Emma. 2015.


The increase of hypoxic zones in the oceans is jeopardizing marine ecosystems. Benthic ecosystems have shown to be particularly vulnerable to these zones. In this paper, the correlation between hypoxic oxygen levels and a benthic shrimp, Spirontocaris sica, was examined to understand how benthic organisms might adapt to hypoxia. Spirontocaris sica was studied in its naturally hypoxic environment, Saanich Inlet, BC. In an examination of the Spirontocaris sica population and oxygen levels over the period from October 2009 to October 2010, no correlation between the two variables was observed. These findings suggest that the Spirontocaris sica population is independent of oxygen levels. Possible explanations of this trend may be due to an abundant food source or an environmental factor causing abnormal dispersal. These other factors should be investigated in future studies as they have the potential to reactivate post-hypoxic ecosystems.


The effects of temperature and methane gas levels on the bacterial mats that reside on the gas hydrates in the Barkley Canyon

MacLellan, Kelly. 2015.


Methane gas hydrates reside in harsh environments and can be an ecological and environmental hazard if their high pressure and low temperature conditions are not met. However, they are capable of supporting a diverse ecosystem that includes bacterial mats. An Ocean Networks Canada’s observatory allows the hydrates located off the west coast of Vancouver to be continuously monitored by methane and temperature sensors as well as observed seasonally by remotely operated vehicles. These observations made it possible to study the effect that water temperature and methane levels have on the bacterial mats that reside on the top of methane hydrate mounds. High methane levels may result in the decreased presence of bacterial mats due to the bacteria’s adaptation to move through different layers of hydrate sediment when the environment is disturbed.


Oceans First, Issue 1 (May 2014)

An acoustical analysis of the variability of the diel vertical migration of zooplankton in Saanich Inlet

Boddy, Hannah. 2014.


The diel vertical migration of zooplankton exhibits variation due to a number of environmental factors. In this research, active sonar technology was used to remotely observe and map zooplankton behaviour in Saanich Inlet, off of Vancouver Island. A zooplankton acoustic profiler (ZAP) was placed 100m below the surface on the Venus Instrument Platform (VIP) where it continuously emitted ~300 microsecond pulses of 200 kHz frequency sound. The acoustic images from the ZAP were then used to attempt to understand zooplankton’s migratory trends. It was noted that daylight influenced migration length, temperature and oxygen affected zooplankton abundance, and the mixing of oceanic pycnoclines caused a uniform distribution of zooplankton with depth. Overall, the results from this study suggested that zooplankton migrations vary as a result of multiple environmental factors, but further study is needed to understand the implications of these results.


Variations in oxygen level in relation to temperature in the hydrothermal vents of the Juan de Fuca Ridge

Pentyliuk, Natasha. 2014.


Le Chatelier’s principle predicts that the heating of water decreases oxygen solubility, and the cooling of water causes an increase in oxygen solubility. This paper determined whether reject or not reject that principle at the hydrothermal vents. By recording and analysing both temperature and oxygen levels over time at the hydrothermal vents of the Main Endeavour Field, a correlation between oxygen level variation and temperature change was observed, where increase in one is correlated with a decrease in the other. This data and the conclusions of other research papers support the correlation between oxygen level variation and temperature. These conclusions highlight the concern that the chemical and physical gradients that the hydrothermal vent communities rely on could be severely affected by an increase in ocean temperature – an increase that may be due to anthropogenic activity.