7. Oceans Unexplored

Understanding our ocean is essential to our future, yet ocean depths are still 95% unexplored. We know more about space than we do about the ocean. And there is a lot of ocean to explore, with incredible depths that are almost impossible to reach. Almost.

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 do 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 super computing 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) allows us to see under the surface and explore new depths. Science and discovery requires 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 behaviours are emerging as powerful conservation tools. It is with respect, and support of change and broader knowledge, that we can achieve ocean conservation success together.

One of the most fascinating discoveries that has been made through ocean exploration is the discovery of bioluminescence! Scientists have seen organisms glowing in the dark waters of the ocean depths. To learn more, continue to the next section Light It Up! to complete the assignment.

When you are ready, you can test your knowledge on this section with the Ocean Unexplored Quiz and earn your badge.

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