Oceans Unexplored

95% of the ocean is unexplored. The next generation of researchers and explorers, film makers and divers, have a unique opportunity to discover things that were never known about the ocean before.

Exploration is more than just curiosity. It is also vital for understanding the systems and processes of the ocean. Everywhere from deep sea to shallow waters, the ocean is a continuous mystery to us. In order to build a sustainable future, we need to solve the mysteries of the ocean.

As demonstrated in the video, science technology engineering and mathematical (STEM) advancements are needed to explore the ocean. The pressure and lack of light in the ocean is one challenge, but there are also factors such as salinity, acidity, wildlife, geological structures and ocean debris to account for. Advances in technology, including travel vessels, camera equipment, and sensory equipment, is necessary in order to expand the exploration of the ocean. Mathematical models are also essential to exploration, and will help us understand the complexity of the ocean.

A marine biogeographer for example: studies marine species, the geographic distribution of their habitats and the relationship bewteen living organisms and the environment. Their job is to map out previously unexplored habitats of the ocean to gain a better understanding of how the physical structure of the ocean affects the life within it. To learn more, click on the photo here:

Click on the picture below to read more about what it is like to be an ROV pilot for the NOAA Okeanos Explore

Another day at the office for Dave, piloting the 'tour-bus for science.'

While science and technology are needed to explore and understand the ocean, ocean exploration is truly an interdisciplinary effort. It requires teamwork between people and between arts and sciences to be successful. No one scientist can explore the ocean alone. Researchers require a crew and vessel to take them out on the ocean, anywhere from deck hands to the chef to get the journey off of the ground. Divers, filmmakers, and photographers help to capture the discoveries made, and artists may render the discoveries onto paper or diagrams to help the public connect to the discovery. Permission and grants may be necessary from the government in order to conduct any research.

These videos are examples of how arts and science are combined together in a real-world application:

We know little about ocean life and processes. It is a big ocean with lots of room for everyone to make discoveries, including you. Citizen science programs offer different ways to contribute, from community habitat mapping projects to interpreting deep-sea data. 

If you see a Cetacean (porpoise, dolphin or whale) anywhere in the world, you can report it to the BC Cetacean Sightings Network. This is helping researchers understand populations of whales found in BC and, since most whales are migratory animals, these whales can be seen all over the world.

Scientific ocean exploration involves international cooperation. It requires teamwork. The next generation of scientists does much of the primary work, learning the ropes from mentors in their fields. 

New technologies are created and improved for data collection. That data is crunched using supercomputing power and crowd-sourcing, citizen science resulting in better predictions using new mathematical modeling.

New ways of exploring are redefined. Collaborations from animators, videographers, mappers, designers, buildings, and operators of satellites, underwater vehicles, ships and submarines and their crews (including the cooks) allow us to see under the surface and explore new depths. Science and discovery require teamwork.

Science and technology will not solve all of our ocean exploration needs. Both the ocean and human societies are large and complex, and they are getting less predictable. We must look inward as well as deep into the sea to explore how to truly sustain the ocean and ourselves.

The challenges of working together, respecting and trusting each other, are now more important than ever. In Canada, there is a new respect for traditional ecological knowledge as an important contributor to ocean science, as we work for reconciliation. The roles of art and emotion in changing behaviors are emerging as powerful conservation tools. It is with respect, and support for change and broader knowledge, that we can achieve ocean conservation success together

It takes far more than just one scientist to uncover the mysteries of the oceans. What role might you play in the next great discovery?

Continue to Citizen Science »