In late December 2021, University of Victoria professor emeritus Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada for her outstanding contributions to ocean sciences, and for being a pioneer in the scientific exploration of the deep sea.
Amongst her many achievements and accomplishments, Tunnicliffe was one of the founding visionaries of Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), along with University of Washington marine geologist John Delaney and University of Victoria geologist Chris Barnes. Tunnicliffe served as VENUS (Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea) Project Director until 2012.
“We want to get everyone into the ocean and break down the barriers to a world that most people can’t see,” said Tunnicliffe when VENUS was launched in 2006. “If we’re going to make wise decisions as stewards of the ocean, then we all have to see it and care what happens to it.”
Tunnicliffe discovered the Endeavour hydrothermal vent system during a 1983 expedition with the architects of the US Ocean Observing Initiative. This discovery led to the creation of Canada’s first marine protected area in 2003, which continues to be monitored by ONC.
“What can one say about Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe – plenty! She is a maverick, an explorer, a scholar, a mentor of many many students, post doctoral fellows, and staff. I cannot think of anyone among our ocean science community who is more deserving,“ says Kate Moran, ONC’s President and CEO.
“As ONC brings its 15th anniversary celebrations to a close, I would like to acknowledge the essential role played by Verena Tunnicliffe. Her pioneering fortitude and perseverance brought VENUS to reality,” says Richard Dewey ONC associate director of science services, who worked closely with Verena since 2001.
Read more about ONC’s history and 15th anniversary
Read more about Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe, OC
Read more about the 2021 Order of Canada recipients
Read more: Ocean of beauty and discovery