Ocean exploration is as exciting and complex as traveling into outer space. It involves cool tech, hard science, daring innovation, and a large team of highly qualified personnel. And thanks to underwater cameras and telepresence technology, the public can participate in Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) quest to know the ocean.

Starting on 28 April, Expedition 2017: Wiring the Abyss is ONC’s first major expedition of the year. This ten-day operation involves a team of 35 scientists, engineers, technicians, and data specialists who will live aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel John P. Tully (Figure 1).

Conducting around the clock operations with robots, high tech sensors, instruments, and cameras, the team’s (Figure 2) mission is to maintain, improve, and install instrumentation on ONC’s west coast cabled observing systems: Saanich Inlet, Strait of Georgia, Endeavour hydrothermal vent field⎯which is Canada’s first marine protected area, Clayoquot Slope, and Folger Passage.


Expedition 2017: Wiring the Abyss starts 28 April

Highlights for the first leg of the 2017 Wiring the Abyss expedition include:

  • The installation of an innovative new monitoring experiment in the Strait of Georgia to find out if fish talk. This collaborative experiment to improve our understanding of fish abundance, variations, and interactions combines imaging, sonar, and video (Figure 3). Read more...
  • Ongoing maintenance and improvements to the Natural Resources Canada delta dynamics laboratory (Figure 4), which measures live underwater turbidity currents in the Fraser River delta. A published study on the unique research findings of this instrument was recently included in the science journal Sedimentology’s 2016 Editor's Top Ten Picks. Find out more...
  • Preparations at the Endeavour hydrothermal vent field (Figure 5) will significantly expand ONC’s instrumentation, allowing us to better understand and monitor this remote marine protected area. With support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s Leading Edge Fund, marine geologist Dr. Laurence Coogan will lead a consortium of ten principal researchers from seven institutions across North America to further investigate how mid-ocean ridges work. Coogan is ONC’s Theme Leader for Interconnections Among the Seafloor, Ocean, and Atmosphere. Find out more...

This joint expedition will be co-led by ONC and Natural Resources Canada using the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully and Pelagic Research Services newly redesigned remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Odysseus (Figure 6).



Jump into the deep sea without getting wet! Starting 28 April, the public can join ONC in the ROV control centre and explore the sights and sounds of ocean research.

Expedition 2017: Wiring the Abyss dates

  • Leg 1: 28 April – 10 May
  • Leg 2: 7 June – 26 June

Watch the #livedive HERE and engage with us using hashtag #ONCabyss on Twitter.